Twenty-four hours after Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, promised to reconstruct roads into and inside Port Harcourt International Airport as well as build a new VIP lodge, Turkish Airlines yesterday made an inaugural flight to the airport.
This is coming at a time Governor Wike said the state would not permit proliferation of vigilance groups.
Speaking at the inauguration of Istanbul-Port Harcourt flight yesterday, Senior Vice President of Sales (2nd Region), Karem Sarp said passengers from Port Harcourt would experience multiple fleet and good flights.
Sarp said: “We are glad to have the first ever Turkish Airline flight land in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Over the years, Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa, has been a remarkable destination for us and that is why we are happy to be able to open additional routes for our customers in the Southern part of the country.”
Meanwhile, Wike has declared that the state government will not permit the proliferation of vigilance groups, stating that youths interested in helping to build the state’s security architecture should join the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.
This was as traditional rulers of Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas submitted arms retrieved from repentant criminals in the area, after a local amnesty programme.
Speaking at a ceremony where he received the Ekpeye traditional rulers from Ahoada East and Ahoada West councils at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said the decision became necessary after OSPAC from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area started over stepping its boundaries.
He said: “I am being very careful about vigilance groups in all the local government Areas because of what OSPAC is doing. It is now going beyond its boundaries.
“We will reintegrate OSPAC into the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Anyone who wants to support the security structure should join the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. We will not approve local vigilante for different local government areas.”
He said some of the criminals may pretend to have repented, only for them to renege after re-arming themselves.
Governor Wike said the state government will no longer operate an amnesty programme, since many of the criminals reneged during the first exercise.
He said: “We granted amnesty in the past and some boys went back to crime. For now, we are doing what is called, ‘Binding Over’. If they renege, the law will take its course.
“When the court binds you over, it will be difficult for you to renege.”
While saying the security agencies are determined to fight crime across the state, Wike commended the Ekpeye traditional rulers and the House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, Ehie Edison, for taking proactive action to improve security.
The governor said the government will reward the Divisional Police Officers of Ahoada East and West and the Joint Task Force Commander in the area, Major Nwachukwu for their roles in promoting peace and security.
Earlier, Eze Igbu Upkata, Felix Otuwarikpo, said traditional rulers from Ahoada East and West councils worked with the security agencies to ensure peace returned to Ekpeye land.
He said Edison supported the peace process which included confidence building and the return of arms by repented criminals.
He said 113 former cultists have repented and turned in their arms. He noted that a cultist known as VIP and his group will also surrender on Friday.
The traditional ruler praised the divisional police officers of Ahoada East and West and the JTF commander for their commitment to peace in the area.
Governor Wike and the service commanders later inspected the arms surrendered by the repentant criminals.