The All Progressives Congress (APC) has criticised the Federal Government for the ‘insulting and disingenuous’ explanation it gave to deceive Nigerians over the $9.3 million cash-for-arms deal.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement yesterday said the deal violates the foreign currency laws of Nigeria and South Africa. It also violates Nigeria’s Money Laundering law as well as the Public Procurement Act and makes a mess of the Federal Government’s cashless policy.
Stressing that the fact that the cash was not declared before departure in Nigeria nor declared on arrival in South Africa, among other things shows the insincerity of the government.
“Based on these shady circumstances, one can safely conclude that the arms to be procured, if at all, were not meant for any Boko Haram fight as claimed by the government but perhaps a ploy to stockpile arms for the private militia of the PDP ahead of next year’s general elections.
“As we said in our earlier statements on this issue, the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, cannot and does not procure arms for the armed services. These services procure their own weapons. Therefore, it baffles that the office of the NSA issued the end-user certificate for the transactions. This is a shady deal,” APC said in the statement.
Further arguing that the deal was shady, the party noted that questions needed to be asked on why the Federal Government had to use a private jet to ferry the money purportedly meant for the procurement of arms, when it had over 10 aircraft in the Presidential Fleet.
“Nigerians are also eager to know why the money for the purchase of the arms was not transferred to the country’s Embassy in South Africa for onward transfer to the contractor, if indeed a contractor was used as claimed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or the money transferred directly to the contractor, and why the Nigerian government chose to deal with an arms contractor with questionable registration in South Africa.
“If indeed the transaction was clean and official, which representatives of the office of the NSA and the Chief of Defence Staff were on the dollar-ferrying plane? Who indeed was the arms meant for? And perhaps the most important information of all: Who and who were on the plane?
“Nigerians are more interested in who was on the plane rather than who was not on it, hence the government should stop hiding behind ‘national security’ and come out to identify those on the plane.
“Irrespective of the feverish moves by the Federal Government, using less-than-sincere officials, to spin the whole shady deal and make it look clean and official, the truth is that even terrorists could not have been engaged in a shadier and more crooked deal to obtain weapons,” the statement said.