Jubilations as Wike returns with abandoned Rivers aircraft from Germany

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has stated that the recovery and eventual return of the state’s seemingly lost asset, the Legacy 600 aircraft, is a reality, not just politics.

Wike spoke after receiving the Legacy 600 aircraft that touched down at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday afternoon.

There were some cultural displays staged by Rivers women and youths at the airport to celebrate the return of the state-owned aircraft secretly abandoned in Germany by the state’s immediate past administration.

Wike explained that it took an intelligence report for his administration to discover such a Rivers State government-owned asset.

Wike went on to say that the previous administration flew the plane to faraway Germany with no record of it being made available to his administration.

“To the glory of God, the plane is back, and Rivers people can see. Nigerians are able to see. We are not engaging in political maneuvering.

“All we’re saying is that we had no idea. Nobody told us we had this asset until we received intelligence,” he said.

He recalled that the Legacy 600 Aircraft was purchased by the Dr. Peter Odili-led administration to serve the people of Rivers, but was abandoned by the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi-led administration in Munich, Germany 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 telling us where such a state asset was, only for us to hear in 2019 that this asset is somewhere,” Wike said.

The governor also stated that the state government spent a lot of money on the plane, money that could have gone toward other development projects if his administration had known about it sooner.

According to him, while repairing the aircraft, a certificate of airworthiness issued by the Nigerian government was obtained, allowing the aircraft to return to Nigeria.

“Of course, we did everything we could, 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, who will decide what to do with it. I am overjoyed that, in the end, all of our efforts have not been in vain.

“I thank Rivers people for their support. I appreciate the support of the Rivers State House of Assembly. I appreciate the Executive’s assistance.

“Without their help, we would not have been able to spend the money we did. If you hear how much money we spent, it was money that could have gone toward other development projects if we had been told on time,” he added.

The state House of Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, expressed delight that the aircraft had been successfully recovered after ten years.

He stated that the state government will decide how the asset will be used to further the development of the state.

Senator Barry Mpigi, who represents Rivers South-East District in the Senate, praised Governor Wike for his determination to protect the state’s interests.

According to him, the recovered aircraft is a valuable asset to the Rivers State government and the people.

Governor Wike, according to the chairman of the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, has once again demonstrated his zeal to protect the interests of the state.

The King praised the governor for not allowing state property to go missing in Europe.

Former Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze C. Okocha, SAN, and Okey Wali, SAN, stated that the state governor has demonstrated his determination to defend the state’s interests.

Similarly, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba and His Royal Majesty, Nne-Nwe-Eli Emohua XIII (OLO IV), Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse, said the aircraft’s recovery was a credit to Governor Wike’s administration.

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