The Governor said that the government had spent more than €3million (N1.4 billion) to repair and reclaim the aircraft that had been abandoned for 10 years.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Kevin Ebiri, who revealed that Wike had led a delegation of Rivers leaders to General Atomics Aerotec in Munich, Germany, where the aircraft had been abandoned.
Speaking during a meeting with the General Manager, Business Development, General Atomics Aerotec, Markus Froetschi, 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.
He 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. 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.”
Wike said there is no 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.”