The All Progressives Congress, APC, has decried an alleged attempt by the PDP-led Federal Government, in cahoots with some members of the National Assembly, to cover up the smuggling of $9.3 million cash to South Africa on a private jet.
The opposition party in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said the cover-up plans will fail because the issues transcended Nigeria.
It said the cover-up attempt manifested clearly at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, when Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, curiously refused to entertain a debate on a motion seeking a probe of the issue that had further dented the country’s image in the global community.
It said the refusal of the deputy speaker became even more suspicious amid allegations that some members of the House were offered and received a $50,000 bribe each to quash the motion.
The APC, however, hailed its members in the green chambers for staging a walk-out to protest the inexplicable decision not to allow the issue be debated on the floor of the House.
It said by their actions, the APC lawmakers aligned with the majority of Nigerians who were eager to get to the bottom of how such a huge amount of money could be smuggled into another country by the Nigerian authorities, despite being fully aware of the limitation on the amount of money that can be taken into any country.
The party said while the Senate had already launched a probe into the issue, Nigerians would have preferred that the probe be done openly, instead of behind closed doors, so there won’t be any shade of doubt about the transparency of the investigation. It, however, expressed the hope that the Senate would do a thorough job in unravelling the circumstances surrounding the cash smuggling gate.
“It is shocking that those who were elected by the people will fail to act in the interest of the people. But then we in the APC are not really surprised at this development, going by the antecedents of the Jonathan Administration and his party, the PDP. Thank goodness, every day the PDP and the government it has sired at the centre are showing why they should not be voted back into office”, it said.
The opposition party insisted that the Jonathan Administration and all concerned must come clean on the circumstances surrounding the ferrying of the huge funds to South Africa, including why a government that had spent millions of naira to promote a cashless policy decided to transport 90 blocks of $100,000 each to another country in violation of that country’s laws.
“The resort to ‘procedural error’ is not enough to explain this irresponsible and illegal action, neither is it enough to explain why a duly-constituted government will behave like a rogue government or even like insurgents who will be shopping for arms in the open market. Fortunately for Nigerians, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, has said the issue is still under criminal investigation, meaning all attempts to sweep the scandal under the carpet, as the Jonathan Administration is used to doing, will fail”, it said.
The APC called on all well-meaning Nigerians as well as Civil Society Organizations to ensure that the circumstances surrounding this scandal were unraveled in the overall interest of Nigeria and her people.