The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has said the state government has through intelligence discovered one of the state-owned aircraft, Legacy 600, that was flown to and abandoned in Germany.
He said efforts to repair and retrieve the aircraft had already gulped over €3m.
Wike alleged that the aircraft was abandoned in the European country since 2012 by the previous administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor had led a delegation of Rivers leaders to General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany, where the aircraft had been abandoned for 10 years, according to a statement in Port Harcourt on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri.
Addressing a meeting with the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, he 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.
He 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 predecessor, now Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. While he was in office, by 2012 this plane was brought here. Reasons we do not know.”
The governor said there was no document indicating that the state-owned aircraft was flown to Germany, adding that he had to travel to Munich with a state delegation to prove that the Legacy 600 aircraft had been discovered and about to be returned to Nigeria.
He said, “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.”
The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said he was happy that the aircraft had been recovered by the state government, promising that the lawmakers would continue to support every effort to recover all government assets and property.- Punch