…Recovery of Legacy 600 not mere politics -Wike
By Egufe Yafugborhi
THE Legacy 600, a Rivers state owned aircraft allegedly abandoned in Germany under unclear circumstance by the preceding administration has been recovered and flown back to Rivers.
Governor Nyesom Wike on receipt of the aircraft flown into the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government Area, Tuesday, said his administration wasn’t playing petty politics in the recovery of the aircraft.
Wike reiterated that it took diligent intelligence gathering by his administration to discover the asset, alleging how the administration of his predecessor and former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, flew the aircraft to Germany with no record of the development made available to his administration.
He said, “To the glory of God, the plane is back and Rivers people can see, Nigerians can see, it is not that we are playing politics. All we are saying, we never knew, nobody told us until we got intelligence that we have this asset somewhere.”
The Legacy 600 Aircraft, he recalled, was purchased by Dr. Peter Odili’s led Rivers government, but abandoned at the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany by the Rotimi Ameachi’s administration since 2012.
“What is very important to all of us here today is that when we came into power in 2015, nobody handed over any report or gave us handover note to let us know where such asset of the State was, only for us to hear in 2019 that this asset is somewhere”, he narrated.
He said so much state fund that would have served other state needs was expended on the aircraft, including putting it in order, certifying its air worthiness by the Nigerian government before the plane could return to Nigeria.
“Of course, we did everything we could do and we told Nigerians that the grace of God we will not allow this asset to go that way. We must return it for the people of the State to decide what they are going to do with it.
“I am so elated that at the end of the day, all of our struggles are not in vain. I think Rivers people for the support. I thank the Rivers State House of Assembly for the support. I thank the Executive for the support.
“But for their support, it would not have been possible to spend the money we spent. If you hear the money we spent, it’s money that would have been put in other development projects if we were told on time of it”, Wike said.
Dignitaries including Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon.Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, Senator Barry Mpigi, traditional rulers and former Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze C. Okocha, SAN and Okey Wali, SAN who were at the reception praised Wike for again proving his determination to defend Rivers interest at all time.