Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, has been arrested and detained in Ondo State, his commissioner for information and communications, Ibim Semenitari, has claimed.
Similarly, the chief press secretary to the Edo State governor, Peter Okhiria, said the helicopter chattered to fly Adams Oshiomhole from Benin Airport to Ado Ekiti has been grounded.
Semenitari issued a statement expressing the concerns of the Rivers State government “about the safety of Governor Amaechi”, saying he is “right now being held hostage in commando style” by soldiers and federal government security agents in Odudu, Ondo State.
“Governor Amaechi, as chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and as an APC governor and chieftain had left Port Harcourt this morning for Ekiti State, where he was to join his brother-governor in his last mega rally before the elections,” she said.
“Governor Amaechi was ambushed and refused entry into Ekiti by military personnel acting on orders from above. He made to turn back and return to Akure where his chattered aircraft was parked, but he was chased and rounded up by armed soldiers and security personnel in Odudu, Ondo State. According to the captain who led the operation, he had orders not to allow the governor entry or exit.”
She said that while the chattered aircraft that conveyed the governor was grounded, the minsters of defence, police affairs and the minister of state for defence were allowed to land at the Akure airport.
“The Rivers State government is especially worried that federal government and President Jonathan have singled out Governor Amaechi for harassment and attack.
“While we hold the person and office of the president in utmost regards, we believe that it is unacceptable that the presidency would disrespect the person and office of an elected governor of a federating unit and consistently hound him.
“The Rivers State government is all the more worried, as the Ondo saga is coming on the heels of a plot by six PDP lawmakers this morning to carry out a kangaroo impeachment of the duly-elected governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, first at Krisdara Hotels and later Bauchi Street, Port Harcourt.
“Ordinarily, such banality should be ignored, as it is neither legal nor constitutional. However, in the light of the recent attempts to hoist a chief judge on Rivers people through the backdoor and the attendant rumours that the reason for that desperate act was to make it easier for the PDP to actualize its sinister daydream of ousting Governor Amaechi before May 29, 2015, we believe that it has become necessary to draw the attention of Rivers people, Nigerians and the international community to the situation in Rivers State.”
Ahead of the related grounding of Oshiomhole’s helicopter, the commander of the 81 Air Maritime Group, Benin City, Air Commodore Soji Awomodu, reportedly received “a call from above” that no private jet or helicopter was allowed to fly out of Benin City to either Akure or Ekiti.
That, Okhiria lamented, was the second time the governor’s helicopter would be grounded in one year, the first being June 7, 2013, when it was recalled mid-air.
“The governor, who was billed to attend a mass rally organized to round off the re-election campaigns of the governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, was left stranded at the Benin Airport for two hours before Air Commodore Awomodu delivered the message ‘from above'”, he said.
He said a source at the 81 Air Maritime Group, who declined to mention his name, revealed that it was purely a military affair.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Prince Kassim Afegbua, confirmed the incident and described it as strange.