Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said the state government through intelligence discovered a state-owned Legacy 600 Aircraft which was abandoned in Germany since 2012 during the administration of former governor Chibuike Amaechi who is the incumbent minister of transportation.
Wike said it was unconscionable for the preceding administration in the state to have surreptitiously taken a state-owned asset to Germany and abandoned it there without any documentation.
The governor, who led a delegation of Rivers’ leaders to General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany, where the aircraft had been abandoned for 10 years, said efforts to repair and retrieve it have cost the state government over three million Euros.
Speaking during a meeting with the general manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, Wike said his administration, in a bid to recover state assets, had through intelligence discovered that the Legacy 600 jet purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili-led administration was in Germany.
The governor 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.
He stated that there was no document indicating that the state-owned aircraft was flown to Germany and abandoned for inexplicable reasons.
Wike said, “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.”
The governor said he had to travel to Munich, Germany with a state delegation to prove that the Legacy 600 aircraft had been discovered and about to be returned to the state government.
Those in the governor’s entourage included, speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani; Rivers State attorney-general and commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ken Chikere; Rivers State chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ambassador Desmond Akawor; and the chairman of Ikwerre local government area, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, among others.
The general manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, said the aircraft was brought to Germany by the immediate-past administration and abandoned there since 2012.
Froetschi 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 conclude general maintenance work on the plane and deliver it to the state government by March.
The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said he was elated that the aircraft had been recovered by the
state governmet. According to him, the state lawmakers will continue to support every effort to recover all government assets and property.
Similarly, the deputy speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Ehie Ogerenye 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.”