Former Rivers State Commissioner for Transport, Tolofari George, has called out Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, over attack on his predecessor Rotimi Amaechi on alleged abandoned aircraft.
Mr George refuted that “It is simply not possible that a plane that was properly documented in the handover notes of the State Ministry of transport (which I supervised as Commissioner) to the incoming administration in 2015, can be said to be secretly abandoned? How?”
The former commissioner explained that “When we got the new aircraft that the current government is using now, the older legacy aircraft was sent to Germany for repairs and refurbishment and then to be sold to generate revenue for critical infrastructural projects in the state.
“To the previous administration, there was no economic sense to keep and maintain two State planes. The cost was just too prohibitive, so the plan was to sell off the older Legacy plane.
“The plane was still in Germany at the time we handed over to the incoming administration. Everything was in the handover notes of the ministry of transport.
“In 2015 when the new administration took over, they claimed the same aircraft had been stolen. Today, they are now saying again that the aircraft was secretly abandoned.
“We can now all see that the issue is purely political and vindictive, hurling false allegations on the previous administration. That the Legacy aircraft was in RUAG, Germany was written in my handover notes that is in the custody of the Rivers state government,” he said.
Mr George queried the sincerity of Governor Wike, stressing that the Amaechi-government could not have taken an aircraft to Germany only to dump it there. We couldn’t have taken an aircraft to Germany and just dumped it there and walked away without proper and formal documentation. “Is RUAG, Germany a dumping ground?”He asked.
He added: “They accused us of doing an N registration for the sole purpose of wanting to steal the aircraft. They made so much fuss at the time. But to date, which is nearly seven years after taking possession of the aircraft, they are still using the same foreign registration. Why haven’t they changed it to Nigerian registration?
“The whole information about that aircraft – the Legacy plane, was in the handover notes prepared by the ministry for the incoming administration in 2015, including the fact that the plane was to be sold, because it was more economical to sell it off,” Mr George declared.