The immediate past Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has demanded an apology from the South African Government to Nigeria for embarrassing the country following the confiscation of $15 million meant for the procurement of military hardware for security agencies to better aid them in the campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency.
Obanikoro said the action of the South African Government was unacceptable, unnecessary and unfair as the two deals, which led to the seizures of the funds, were not legal.
According to the former minister, the South Africans should have a better understanding of the use of cash for arms procurement as that was the procedure they followed in purchasing arms during the long period of their struggle against apartheid.
He pointed out that South Africa failed Nigeria during a period of dire need.
The southern African country, he said, benefitted immensely from Nigeria during the dark days of apartheid rule and rather than repay Nigeria’s good deeds, went all out to embarrass the country.
He said, “What South Africa did to us is unacceptable, it is not fair, it is not just and it was unnecessary.
“Here is a nation that stood by them during their time of need. If there is any country that should understand the need to use cash to procure ammunition or weapons, it is South Africa, because during their days of struggling for liberation, that’s what they were doing.
“They have gone through a very long struggle for liberation to get to where they are today, and most of the weapons they used and procured during these struggle were through cash transactions.
“We were in a very dire situation at that point in time and we needed that push at that particular time and they failed us.
“For me, I can speak now as an ordinary citizen of Nigeria, I think South Africa failed Nigeria and they owe Nigeria an unreserved apology. Look at the other bank transaction that was done through the bank, I think they went out deliberately to embarrass us, and they owe us an apology”.
Recall that South African authorities had seized US$5.7 million arms money from Nigeria, almost one month after another $9.3 million cash reportedly ferried into the country by two unidentified Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase was confiscated, bringing the total amount seized to $15 million (about N2 billion).
The matter is being resolved amicably between both countries through diplomatic channels especially after the Nigerian Government threatened to impose strict sanctions on South African companies operating in the country.