The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom wike has said that the recovery and eventual return of the seemingly lost asset of the state, Legacy 600 aircraft from Germany is a reality and not mere politics.
The Governor said this after receiving the Legacy 600 aircraft at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa on Tuesday afternoon.
At the brief event, he explained that it took intelligence reports for his administration to discover the aircraft secretly abandoned in Germany by the immediate past administration.
According to him, the immediate past administration flew the aircraft to Germany, without any record of it made available to his administration.
“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,” Wike stated.
He recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by Dr Peter Odili’s led administration to serve the interest of the Rivers people, but was abandoned with the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany by the Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi’s administration in 2012.
The governor added; “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 pointed out that because air transportation is a more technical area, great care was taken to put the Legacy 600 aircraft into its best form to undertake air travel effectively.
The governor also stated that so much money was expended by the state government on the aircraft, money that would have been put into other development projects if his administration had known of it quite early.
According to him, in fixing the aircraft, a certificate of airworthiness issued by the Nigerian government was secured for the aircraft to return to Nigeria.
“Of course, we did everything we could do and we told Nigerians that by the grace of God we will not allow this asset to go that way. We must return it to 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,” he said.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani expressed delight that after ten years the Rivers State government has successfully recovered the aircraft.
He said the state government will decide how the asset will be used in furtherance of the state’s development.
Senator representing Rivers South East, Barry Mpigi, commended the Governor for his tenacity to defend the interest of the state saying that the recovered aircraft is an additional asset to the government and people of Rivers state.
On his part, the chairman, Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, His Majesty king Dandeson Douglas Jaja, said governor Wike has once again demonstrated his zeal to protect the interest of the State.
The monarch lauded the governor for not allowing the state property to remain lost and unaccounted for.
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