The Rivers government on Wednesday denied the allegation that it had bought a new aircraft at the cost of $50 million
The state chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria had accused the state government of buying a new jet worth $50 million.
ACN Publicity Secretary in Rivers State, Mr. Jerry Needam, who made the allegation in a statement in Port Harcourt, described the alleged purchase of the jet as a waste of resources and misplaced priority. However, in a reaction, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt that the allegation was false and baseless. She explained that the state government had actually bought a jet two years ago at a cost of $45 million and that due process was followed in the procurement.
“But the truth of the matter is that the government of Rivers State did pay for this aircraft two years ago.
“The cost of the aircraft is $45 million. The government of Rivers State traded in two previous aircraft, the Dash 8 and the Embraer jet.
“The government of Rivers State expects that in defraying the cost, the payment on those two aircraft will assist.
“Now, what were the reasons; two reasons, cost of maintenance, the Embraer jet is eight years old and so, it just makes sense to get a newer jet that, first, is bigger, a bigger-bodied jet, but also cheaper to maintain.
“Because you are certainly spending less on maintenance and there are frequent travels,” Semenitari said that the allegation that the jet belonged to Gov. Chibuike Amaechi and was being used as a personal property was also not true. “The aircraft is not used only by the governor of Rivers State. Governor Amaechi does not own a personal jet.
“Gov. Amaechi does not exclusively use the jet. The jet was paid for by the government of Rivers State and brought in by the Ministry of Transport, Rivers State, whose job is to manage all the vehicles that belong to the state government,” she stated.
The commissioner said the process of buying the jet was open and transparent.