Our private jet cost N7bn, not N9bn -Amaechi
Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday said contrary to reports, the state government's private jet costs $45m (N7.1bn) and not $57 (N9bn).
The governor said this through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, in an interview with our correspondent in Port Harcourt.
Amaechi described the allegations that he inflated the cost of the jet by $10m as unfounded and a figment of the imagination of those spreading such false information.
According to him, the allegations were targeted at distracting the state government from its responsibility of developing the state.
'The state government has never announced that the aircraft was purchased for $57m. That statement did not come from us. The aircraft was bought for US$45m. We see all these as a distraction,' Amaechi said.
Meanwhile, two aides to the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, and the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Mr. Chikodi Dike, were on Saturday barred by a team of policemen from entering the council secretariat.
The two aides were the Chief of Staff, Rivers State Government House, Mr. Tony Okocha and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emmanuel Chinda.
The incident, which occurred around 2.30pm, came barely 24 hours after a team of policemen had sealed off the council secretariat allegedly on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu.
Workers of the council and visitors on the premises were also ordered out of the secretariat by the policemen on Friday before sealing off the place.
Speaking with newsmen outside the premises of the council, Okocha described the development as a coup against the people of Obio/Akpor and the people of the state in general.
Dike had earlier gone to the secretariat for the monthly environmental sanitation, but was warned by the fierce-looking policemen that had mounted guard at the gate of the council secretariat for two days to stay away.
Okocha, who was peeved by the development, went to the council secretariat in company with Dike and Chinda.
However, the policemen stood their ground when the Chief of Staff and other government officials arrived the secretariat, saying they were acting on the order of the Divisional Police Officer of Rumuokoro Police Station.
Okocha said, 'You can see that the whole place is blocked with police vehicles and policemen. This morning, the police PPRO had said no such thing existed. That is why I came to see things for myself.
'I was trying to find out the man who gave the instruction: the policeman I saw said it was the DPO who gave the instruction and he said the DPO is not around. I said okay; give me the name of the next person around.
'What I suspect is a coup in a democratic setting; a coup against Obio/Akpor local government and a coup against Rivers State. We know their plan is to provoke the people of Rivers so that there would be some kind of mayhem for them to declare a state of emergency.'
He told newsmen that the state police boss had told him that the order to seal off the council secretariat was from the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar.
He described the action of the police as anti-government, saying, 'I don't know whose script they are really acting out. I am shocked.'
The PPRO, Mr. Ben Ugwuegbulam, had earlier said policemen were sent to the secretariat following a tip-off that there was a plot to attack the council secretariat.