By Egufe Yafugborhi
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike on Tuesday said Rivers State Government has uncovered the state owned Legacy 600 aircraft, allegedly abandoned in Germany since 2012 by his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi led administration.
Wike who was on Monday sighted in a viral photo at the General Atomics Aerotec Headquarters in Munich, Germany among a delegation he led from Rivers state, said the aircraft was discovered through intelligence gathering.
Addressing a meeting with the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, Governor Wike stated, “When we came into office in 2015, we never had an idea that our plane was in your facility.
“It was a matter of asking questions before we got the information that Legacy 600 belonging to our State is in RUAG , before General Atomics. We tried to make contact with you, which you obliged . So, we want to sincerely thank you for not hiding anything from us, because it is the property of the State government.
“This plane was bought in 2003 by the government of Dr Peter Odili, and by 2007 he had handed over to the next government which was my predecessor’s, now, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. While he was in office, by 2012 this plane was brought here for reasons we do not know.”
“The issue is, why was there no documentation to let the incoming government to know that we have this facility and we sent it to RUAG for inspection.
“Again, I do know from experience that inspection of such facility does not take more than six months. So, if it was brought in 2012, expectantly at least, by early 2013, the plane ought to have come back for use.”
Governor Wike, said he had to travel to Munich, Germany with a state delegation to prove that the Legacy 600 aircraft has been discovered and about to be returned to the State government.
A statement by Kelvin Ebiri, Media Assistant to the Governor quoted the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, has revealed that the aircraft was brought to Germany by the immediate past administration and abandoned since 2012.
Ebiri’s statement further held that, “He (Froetschi) expressed delight that Governor Wike took the initiative to repair and return the aircraft to Nigeria for use by the State government. According to him, his company will be done with general maintenance work and deliver the aircraft to the State government by March.”
Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Ehie Ogerenye Edison, said, “We are surprised that this is more than seven years that the aircraft has been here. Their intention we cannot say for such, but it shows administrative recklessness ,and worst of all, there is no proper documentation to show Rivers government as at then, meant well for Rivers people.”
On the governor’s entourage on the Germany trip were, the Speaker Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani; Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison; Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor; member of House of Representatives, Hon. Ken Chikere; Rivers State chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Desmond Akawor; Chairman, Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike among others.