Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has finally received the state’s Legacy 600 aircraft, after years of its abandonment in Germany by the past administration.
Receiving the aircraft at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Wike said the recovery and eventual return of the asset of the state was reality and not mere politics.
He explained that it took an intelligence report for his administration to discover such an asset owned by the Rivers State government.
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 is, we never knew, nobody told us until we got intelligence that we have this asset somewhere”, he said.
He recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by the Dr Peter Odili-led administration to serve the interest of Rivers people, but was abandoned with the General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany, by the Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi’s administration in 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 a handover note to let us know where such an asset of the state was, only for us to hear in 2019, that this asset is somewhere”, he added.
Wike noted that because air transportation was 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 its 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 thank 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.
The Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, expressed delight that after 10 years, the Rivers State government successfully recovered the aircraft.