The Governor insisted that the two helicopters, were purchased by his predecessor (Rotimi Amaechi), and that he personally suggested that they should be handed over to the Air Force.
The Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command of the NCS, had last Friday claimed that it seized two Civil Model Bell Helicopters, imported into the country by unknown importers.
The Airport Customs Area Controller, Frank Allanah, who put the duty paid value of the two helicopters and other accessories at N9,757,135,240.86, had said: “the unknown importer could not produce end user certificate from the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, an act which contravenes Section 36 (2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
However, Governor Wike, disputed the claim at the weekend, as he disclosed that he officially wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking that the two armored helicopters bought by the immediate past administration in the State, be handed over to the Nigerian Air Force.
He explained that he wrote the letter following the high custom duty charged for the helicopters, and the refusal of the Federal Government to grant Rivers State Government, a waiver to clear the two armored helicopters.
He said: “These helicopters were imported by the immediate past administration. When I assumed office, we wrote to the Federal government, that it was strictly for security use. What am I going to use armored helicopters for?