The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the 9.3 million US dollars conspiracy currently trending in the country.
The party in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja, by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.
The party who condemned President Goodluck Jonathan for his involvement in the shady arms deals, urged Jonathan to come clean on the circumstances surrounding the 9.3 million US dollars that was impounded in South Africa, which it described as the latest in a series of global ridicule which the scandal-prone Jonathan administration has subjected the country and her citizens.
APC, who raised thirteen questions that the President, is expected to provide answers to also called on the National Assembly to commence urgent investigation into the matter, saying their silence on the issue is deafening, unfathomable and unacceptable.
It said there is no doubt that the President is at the centre of the whole issue, considering the presidential treatment given to the plane and its cargo, as the jet reportedly departed from the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, without being cleared by the Nigerian Customs Service.
“It is absolutely urgent for President Jonathan to clear the air on this alleged off-the-shelf equipment or arms purchase, which runs against all known protocol for such purchases anywhere in the world. Military equipment and weapons are not bean cakes to be purchased by the road side. There are globally-acceptable protocols for such purchases by governments, otherwise what differentiates a government from an insurgent group that is shopping for arms? it questioned.
The party questioned if the Jonathan Administration is not aware that the UN General Assembly on April 2nd 2013 adopted a landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) precisely to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons by avoiding the kind of road-side purchase that the Nigerian government is said to have been involved in.
It said though the ATT has not come into effect, the fact that Nigeria is among the few countries to have signed and ratified the treaty shows that the country is concerned by unregulated arms trade. It further stated that the presidency cannot shy away from the issue, as Nigerian authorities cannot pretend not to be aware that currency brought into or taken from South Africa is monitored by law, and that anyone bringing into that country more than R25,000 in South African currency or U$10,000 or the equivalent thereof in foreign currency must declared such.
APC further pointed out that in the spirit of fairness, President Jonathan and the government he leads should answer the questions below:
Is the money indeed meant to purchase a helicopter as been reported? To which arm of the government or security force does the money belong? Who appropriated it and for what purpose? Why was the money being conveyed in cash by the same government that has been spending huge time and money to promote a cashless policy? Is the resort to cash to avoid a paper trail for the transaction, in which case it is illegal? Does this saga not give credence to the widely held view that the President is benefiting from the Boko Haram insurgency and deliberately allowed it to escalate to this level? Mr. President, has this saga not confirmed the suspicion that your 2015 reelection bid has been factored into your handling of the Boko Haram insurgency? Has this saga not given more credence to revelations that the sponsors of Boko Haram are those closest to the President?
The party also claimed to be aware of the fact that each arm of security has an account with the CBN for the purpose of arms purchase and such transactions are properly documented, and questioned why this particular one was different.
Meanwhile, the scam has been raised several reactions from individuals, parties and organisation, with recent one coming from the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) who said it does not believe in the official explanation provided on the incident with the private jet with $9.3 million in cash, while the government blames the US officials. The Nigerian Government has already started diplomatic talks with their South African colleagues and provided the documents proving the legitimacy of the procedure. The jet belonged to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who leased the Challenger to Green Coast Produce Limited since August 2 and thus denied any knowledge of the deal.