Facts have emerged as to the real reasons Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike, discovered the Rivers’ aircraft in Germany in 2022.
Metronetworknews gathered that its purpose was primarily to stop former Governor and now Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s presidential ambition as well as discourage former Governor Peter Odili from deciding who succeeds him (Wike) come 2023.
Governor Wike had through a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, said the Rivers State government has through intelligence discovered one of the State owned Legacy 600 aircraft, that was flown to and abandoned in Germany since 2012 by the Governor Chibuike Amaechi led administration.
The governor, said it was unconscionable for the immediate past administration to have surreptitiously taken a state owned asset to Germany and abandon 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 ten years, said efforts to repair and retrieve the aircraft has costed the State government over Three Million Euros.
Speaking during a meeting with the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, Governor Wike explained that his administration in a bid to recover State assets, had through intelligence 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.”
Governor Wike said there does not exist any 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 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.
Those on the governor’s entourage included, the Speaker Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani; Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison; Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor; member of House of Representatives, Hon. Ken Chikere; Rivers State chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Ambassador Desmond Akawor; Chairman, Ikwerre LGA, 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 since 2012.
He expressed delight that Governor 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.
The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, said he was elated that the aircraft has been recovered by the State government. According to him, State lawmakers will continue to support every effort to recover all government assets and property.
Similarly, the Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. 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.”
Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Samuel Nwanosike, said considering the brazen matter at which the immediate past administration sold state valuable assets to their cronies, it was obvious that the Legacy 600 was surreptitiously flown to Germany to be converted to personal use.
Reacting to the discovery story on her facebook page, a public commentator, Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe, wondered why Gov. Wike could deny knowledge of the existence of the aircraft when he was Local Government Chairman when it was acquired from Germany.
She wrote; “Gov Nyesom Wike was a Local Government Chairman when Dr Peter Odili through Emeh Glory Emeh acquired the said aircraft from Germany. Wike was the leader of the group called Believers who fought against Omehia’s election as governor while it lasted for 5 months plus. Omehia was sacked by the Supreme Court, so he handed over to Late Tonye Harry who was the Speaker of the State Assembly. Don’t know if the issue of the jet was in the handover notes, if there were any”.
“Then enters Amaechi who discovered that the jet was an old model. He discussed it at the State Executive Council where Wike was present as his Chief of Staff.
“The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ken Chikere was present at the Exco Chambers. He is also in Wike’s expedition team that went in search of the jet. Then again is the current Speaker, Igbani Ikunyi Owaji who also was a member of the State Assembly when Amaechi sought to send the jet back to the owners in exchange for a newer model, albeit at a higher price. The Speaker is also part of the movement of Explorers in Germany”
“The story of how the jets and helicopters were hurriedly acquired is still fresh in our memories. Not even the Internet has forgotten!
“My worry here is that Wike is trying to drag Dr Odili into an unfortunate discuss. Wike knows this. But why is he going this length?
“Aside the fact that he is trying to stop Amaechi’s expected Presidential race, he is also desperate but subtly trying to discourage Dr Odili from deciding who succeeds Wike as agreed by their caucus in the State”.
“The only way he can have his way in choosing his successor is by forcing the man to recline into his shell. Dr Odili hates to be dragged and he has consistently maintained that.”
“Those who know Wike’s style of politics are not bothered one bit by his occasional outbursts. When he says A he actually means Z.”
“Meanwhile, this Julius Berger in Rivers State, which is their home country? E be like na Germany.”
“Sometimes it’s good to go to the source to be sure your returns are in safe haven”.
“Is JB the facilitator of the Discovery journey? “I said laundry”..
“If you say Laundering…Na you sabi!, she said in pidgin English.
Also reacting In a statement issued and signed by himself, the former Rivers State Commissioner of Transport (2007-2015),George Tolofari, faulted the claim by the governor, accusing him of lying against Amaechi.
The statement reads,”Once again, in his characteristic mischievous style, Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike has sought to malign and attack his predecessor and erstwhile benefactor, the Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi by making false allegations.
“This time the governor claims that his predecessor secretly abandoned an aircraft belonging to the Rivers state government in Germany.
“The lie in the Rivers State Government rant is so obvious. It is simply not possible that a plane that was properly documented in the handover notes of the State ministry of transport (which I supervised as Commissioner) to the incoming administration in 2015, can be said to be secretly abandoned? How?
“When we got the new aircraft that the current government is using now, the older Legacy aircraft was sent to Germany for repairs and refurbishment and then to be sold to generate revenue for critical infrastructural projects in the state. To the Previous administration, there was no economic sense to keep and maintain two State planes. The cost was just too prohibitive, so the plan was to sell off the older Legacy plane.
“The plane was still in Germany at the time we handed over to the incoming administration. Everything was in the handover notes of the ministry of transport.
“In 2015 when the new administration took over, they claimed the same aircraft had been stolen. Today, they are now saying again that the aircraft was secretly abandoned.
“We can now all see that the issue is purely political and vindictive, hurling false allegations on the previous administration. That the Legacy aircraft was in RUAG, Germany was written in my handover notes that is in the custody of the Rivers state government.
“In 2015 when they made an issue of Rivers state having two aircrafts, and that one has been stolen, I issued a press release which reiterated that the aircraft was in Germany.
“Sometime last year, a staff of Rivers State government got in touch with me, asking questions about the aircraft. I clearly told him where it was. So, I just don’t understand what this current fuss is about?
“We couldn’t have taken an aircraft to Germany and just dump it there and walk away without proper and formal documentation. Is RUAG, Germany a dumping ground?
“I recalled that Rivers State government had made an issue of the new aircraft currently in use, having a United States registration number, accusing the past government of wanting to steal the aircraft.
“They accused us of doing an N registration for the sole purpose of wanting to steal the aircraft. They made so much fuss at the time. But till date, which is nearly 7 years after taking possession of the aircraft, they are still using the the same foreign registration. Why haven’t they changed it to Nigerian registration?
“The whole information about that aircraft – the Legacy plane, was in the handover notes prepared by the ministry for the incoming administration in 2015, including the fact that the plane was to be sold, because it was more economical to sell it off”.