Wike moves to recover Rivers State owned aircraft abandoned by Amaechi in Germany since 2012 -Spends N1.4bn to repair asset


 Onyedi Igwe, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has expressed shock and anger at the decision of former Governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi to abandon the Legacy 600 aircraft belonging to the government of the state in Germany in 2012.

Governor Wike said intelligence revealed that the Amaechi administration secretely flew the aircraft to Germany and abandoned it there.

The governor in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Kevin Ebiri, said it was unconscionable for the immediate past administration  to have surreptitiously taken a state asset there without any documentation.

Wike, who led a delegation of Rivers leaders to the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany, where the aircraft has been kept for 10 years, said  efforts to repair and retrieve the aircraft cost the government over €3million (Three Million Euros).

Speaking during a meeting with the General Manager, Business Development, General  Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, Wike explained that his administration in a bid to recover state assets, discovered that the Legacy 600 jet purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili’s administration, was in Germany.
“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’s, 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 document indicating that the state-owned aircraft was flown to Germany and abandoned for inexplicable reasons.
“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 (sic) at least, by early 2013, the plane ought to have come back for use.”
The Rivers Governor said he had to travel to Munich, Germany with a state delegation to  prove that the aircraft had been discovered and about to be returned to the state government.
The statement quoted the General Manager, Business Development, General  Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, as saying that the aircraft was brought to Germany by the immediate past administration and abandoned since 2012.
He expressed delight that 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.
Governor Wike was accompanied on the trip by the  Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly,  Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani; the Deputy Speaker, Ehie Ogerenye Edison; Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor; member of House of Representatives, Ken Chikere; chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor and the chairman, Ikwerre LGA, Samuel Nwanosike among others.
Speaker Ibani, said he was elated that the aircraft had been recovered by the state government. 
He said lawmakers in Rivers State will continue to support every effort to recover all  government assets and property.
Also speaking, Deputy Speaker Edison, described the abandonment of the aircraft in Germany as administrative recklessness.
“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”, he said.


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