BusinessDay

Wike ‘discovers’ Rivers aircraft in Germany

…to spend 3m euro to repair, fly it back

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says he has ‘discovered’ an aircraft belonging to the state in Germany.

He said three million euro was needed to repair and fly it back.

In a statement signed by Kelvin Ebiri, the governor’s media aide, the governor said the Rivers State government discovered it through intelligence. The governor said this was carried out in the Chibuike Rotimi administration in 2012. Wike was chief of staff to Amaechi until 2011 before he was nominated by the Amaechi administration to serve as a minister in the Goodluck Jonathan government.

The governor said it was unconscionable for the immediate past administration to have surreptitiously taken a state-owned asset to Germany and abandoned same there, without any documentation.

Governor Wike, 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 the aircraft has cost the State government over 3 million euros.

Speaking during a meeting with Markus Froetschi, the general manager, business development, General Atomics Aerotec, Wike explained that his administration in a bid to recover state assets had through intelligence discovered that the Legacy 600 jet purchased by the Peter Odili 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.

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“This plane was bought in 2003 by the government of 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.”

Governor Wike said there was no existing 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 know that we have this facility and we sent it to RUAG for inspection. Again, I do know from experience that inspection of such a 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.”

Governor Wike said he had to travel to Munich, Germany with a state delegation to prove that the Legacy 600 aircraft has been discovered and about to be returned to the state government.

The general manager, business development, Atomics Aerotec, Markus 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 be done with general maintenance work and deliver the aircraft to the state government by March.

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