Rivers State Government has said the grounding of the chartered aircraft that took Governor Chibuike Amaechi to Kano State on Sunday and ‘imprisonment of the governor at the airport was a manifestation of the tyrannical tendencies that would be unfolded during the 2015 elections.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, made the declaration while addressing a press conference on the issue in Port Harcourt yesterday.
While stating that the aircraft had been released, she expressed grief that Amaechi was locked up in the aircraft along with a former acting factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Kawu Baraje and Senator Danjuma Goje.
According to her, “Governor Amaechi was locked up at the Kano Airport. Somebody had to break the padlock for him to take his exit. This is becoming worrisome; the imprisonment of the governor without any charges.
“He was imprisoned at the Kano Airport for daring to condole with the state governor over the death of the emir. This is simply because somebody does not like the person who emerged as the new Emir of Kano. But why should Nigerians be prevented from moving from place to place?
“Nigerians have to be worried about the recent developments in the country. Within a week, we have witnessed two days of seizure of newspapers; the killing of one man in Ekiti State and what they did to Governor Amaechi in Kano.
“What is happening now does not portend well as we are entering into an election year. The present administration has descended into tyranny. First, it was the tyranny of the National Judicial Council (NJC); followed by the tyranny of the Ministry of Defence which clamped down on the media and now tyranny of an aviation sector which arbitrarily grounded a governor’s plane, acting on a faceless order from above.”
The commissioner disagreed with the explanation given by officials of the aviation sector that the governor’s plane was not allowed to fly due to some security report as she said he had been earlier cleared by the aviation authority.
She insisted: “Yesterday (Sunday), they had first taken off from Kano to Abuja but they could not land due to bad weather. They went to Kaduna but could not land due to the same reason. They had to return to Kano to wait till the weather would improved and that was when the order came.
“It was the same plane that had been cleared earlier and with the same passengers. So where did the security breach come from? It is very clear and obvious that the incident has a link with 2015. With what is happening, it is very clear to all that some people wanted to use intimidation to stop some people in 2015,” she said.
Seminatari also debunked insinuations that the governor was in Kano on Sunday to witness the announcement of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as the new Emir of Kano.
“Governor Amaechi was in Kano to condole with his Kano State counterpart, Alhaji Rabiu Kwakwanso, over the death of the emir. He was there with his condolence message as the Rivers State governor and as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“What is the business of a southern Christian with the appointment of a northern emir? Governor Amaechi will not be 300 miles within the vicinity of where the kingmakers were sitting to decide who becomes the new emir,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Abdurahman Kawu Sumaila, has condemned the grounding of the chartered plane boarded by Governor Rotimi Ameachi of Rivers State and other chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano on Sunday by agents of the federal government.
“These actions and many others being perpetrated by the Goodluck Jonathan-led regime is undemocratic, dictatorial and primitive.
“In the interest of peace, stability and unity of this country, I call on the president to call his aides and subordinates to order.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on all Kano people to unite behind our new emir and give him all necessary support and cooperation as they did for our late father Alhaji Ado Bayero.