The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers has threatened to direct all pilots both local and international to boycott flying into Rivers state now and after lockdown.
The Association also demanded apologies from the state government and called for immediate release of the arrested pilots
The Airline Operators of Nigeria has said it will stop all scheduled and unscheduled commercial and private flight operations into airports in Rivers State if the government fails to release detained Caverton pilots in 24 hours.
The AON said the boycott would include oil and gas offshore flight services.
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers has also threatened to mobilize all pilots both local and international to boycott flying into the state now and post-lockdown following the detention of the pilots.
The groups called for the immediate release of the pilots and an apology from the state government.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, had on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the two pilots for flying into the state despite an existing lockdown order.
The President of NAAPE, Galadima Abednego, stated that while the efforts of the Federal Government in ensuring that Nigerians were well protected from the coronavirus pandemic was commendable, the detention of the pilots on the front line to complement that efforts was embarrassing.
According to Abednego, the detention is an unnecessary humiliation and harassment for doing a service that is essential and vital to the survival of the nation’s economy.
Besides the minister, the umbrella body of aircraft pilots and engineers in the country, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has declared war on the governor with their threat to direct all pilots both local and international to boycott flying into the state now and after the lockdown should he fail to apologies and call for the immediate release of the pilots.
Similarly, a body of professionals across the sector, the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative has joined in condemning the action of the government.
According to the group; “We condemn the purported sham prosecution and trial orchestrated by the Rivers State Government at a time when courts have been placed on lockdown by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“While we acknowledge the deadly nature of the COVID-19 currently ravaging the global community and the need for all hands to be on deck in the fight to contain its spread, we condemning totality the flagrant disregard of the authorization, approvals including exemption granted Caverton helicopters and other operators of essential services by the federal ministry of aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. These reckless actions are capable of leading to a situation of anarchy which the nation cannot afford at these challenging times.
“We, therefore, demand an immediate and unconditional release from custody of the two Caverton pilots namely: Captains Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari and a withdrawal of the charges preferred against them. Without delay.”
An airport source told EWR that a Red Cross aircraft landed at PHIA Omagwa on Wednesday but the State Government did not give them access into the state. They left after hours of waiting at the airport yesterday.