The All Progressives Congress, APC, has insisted that Governor Rauf Aregbesola will not sell the helicopter the state government purchased for surveillance purposes.
The APC Chairman in Osun State, Mr. Gboyega Famodun, who stated this at a press conference in Osogbo on Monday, described the Peoples Democratic Party, which advised the governor to sell the helicopter to pay workers’ salaries, as ignorant.
Mr. Famodun, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to “strongly consider a bail out for states” affected by inability to pay salaries, saying if banks could be bailed out with N4 trillion, it would be a reasonable decision for the FG to bail out states at this moment of crisis.
The state APC chairman pointed out that the helicopter was bought together with armour personnel carriers to assist security agents in combating criminals who, he said, held the state by the jugular and raided at will, which led to the closure of some businesses.
He also said the helicopter which was disallowed from functioning effectively by the former PDP-led Federal Government, was now generating money to the state through lease arrangement.
Mr. Famodun also backed the governor in building an airport in the state, noting that the state government and the Nigerian Air Force were collaborating to build the project, which he said would be of immense benefit to the state when completed.
Famodun said, “On the question of helicopter, the opposition recently gave an unsolicited advice to the state government, asking it to sell its surveillance helicopter. It was an uninformed call. You will all recall the spate of armed banditry in the state prior to our coming.
“The helicopter cost N500 million and it was paid for in five installments. With these measures in place, you now know the difference. However, the helicopter was practically disabled by the federal government itself.
“Before the surveillance machine was bought, the governor built a state-of-the-art Call Centre that will operate with a special security code. The FG-controlled NCC refused, till today, to provide the special code for the helicopter to be linked with ground equipment for surveillance. Thus the surveillance helicopter was effectively disabled.
“The chopper was however put on lease and it is making money for the state and only recalled for use as the need arises. It is one of the sound financial decisions made by the government. We cannot but marvel at the ignorance and mischief of those calling for the sale of the helicopter and the quality of the thinking of those asking government to dispose of an instrument being used for the security of the citizens”.