Spends £3 million on repairs
By Davies Iheamnachor – Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, said the state has through government intelligence discovered one of the state’s owned Legacy 600 aircraft, flown to and abandoned in Germany.
Wike said the aircraft was abandoned in the European nation since 2012 by the Governor Chibuike Amaechi-led administration, saying it was bad for the immediate past administration to have secretly taken a state-owned asset to Germany and abandoned it without any documentation.
The Governor according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, had led a delegation of Rivers leaders to General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany, where the aircraft had been abandoned for ten years.
READ ALSO: Rivers aircraft abandoned by Rotimi Amaechi in Germany since 2012 will be returned – Wike
He said efforts to repair and retrieve the aircraft have cost the State government over Three Million Euros.
Speaking during a meeting with the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, Governor Wike explained that his administration in a bid to recover State assets had through intelligence discovered that the Legacy 600 jet purchased by Dr Peter Odili’s administration was in Germany.
Wike said: “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 and 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 predecessors now, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. While he was in office, by 2012 this plane was brought here. Reasons we do not know.”
He said there was no documentation indicating that the State-owned aircraft was flown to Germany and abandoned for inexplicable reasons.
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.
“The issue is; why was there no documentation to let the incoming government know that we have this facility and we sent it to RUAG for inspection? Again, I do know from experience that inspection of such a 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,” he said.
Those on the governor’s entourage included 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, Ken Chikere; Rivers State chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Desmond Akawor; Chairman, Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike among others.
However, the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, said the aircraft was brought to Germany by the immediate past administration and abandoned since 2012.
Froeschi expressed delight that Governor Wike took the initiative to repair and return the aircraft to Nigeria for use by the State government, adding that his company would soon be through with general maintenance work and deliver the aircraft to the State government in March.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said he was happy that the aircraft has been recovered by the State government, promising that the State lawmakers would continue to support every effort to recover all government assets and property.