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Rivers aircraft: Wike lied against Amaechi, says ex-aide

A former Transport Commissioner in Rivers State, Tolofari George, has described as a tissue of lies allegations by Governor Nyesom Wike, that his predecessor and Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, abandoned the state’s aircraft in Germany for 10 years.

George, who was a commissioner under the past administration of Amaechi from 2007 to 2015, in a statement in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said Wike was simply trying to malign and attack his former benefactor.

He said it was not possible to have secretly abandoned a plane that he properly documented in the handover notes of the state Ministry of Transport to the incoming administration in 2015.

He said: “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 note that is in the custody of the Rivers state government.”

George said in 2015 when a similar issue came up, he issued a statement, which reiterated that the aircraft was in Germany.

He said: “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 seven years after taking possession of the aircraft, they are still using the same foreign registration. Why haven’t they changed it to Nigerian registration?”

The Nation

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