The All Progressives Congress, APC, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently address the nation on the serial embarrassments to which his administration is subjecting the country in the comity of nations, after media reports indicated that another $5.7 million of Nigerian arms money has been confiscated by the South African authorities.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the opposition party said the issues surrounding the first seizure of $9.3 million have yet to be resolved before this latest scandal, wondering why the government would want to turn Nigeria to a rogue nation by taking ownership of money laundering and other acts of illegality, thus devaluing the currency of every Nigerian.
“Again, Mr. President, Nigerians are urging you to please come clean over these cash-for-arms scandals. They want you to answer critical questions on the legality of your administration’s repeated conduct. They want to know the identities of the two Nigerians who were arrested with an Israeli in South Africa over the first illegal deal, especially since the Israeli has been named.
“Nigerians want to why the purported arms procurement for the government is done illegally between private companies that are neither known nor registered for dealing in arms? And why are the movement of monies not transparently documented for what they really are, if they are truly for legitimate purposes?
“They want to know whether indeed the weapons which the government is seeking so furiously to procure are for the battle against Boko Haram or for a sinister motive, considering the desperation of your administration to continue to rule at all cost and by any means possible. They want to know whether every Nigerian should begin to fear what will happen in the days and weeks leading to the forthcoming general elections, against the backdrop of your Administration and party’s do-or-die politics.
“Mr. President, if the funds involved in the latest seizure were sent through bank transfer, can the government explain why Oritsejafor’s plane was stuffed with cash and transported to South Africa? Can your Administration’s embarrassing explanation that it is customary for other country’s security agencies, including with MOSSAD, KGB and CIA, to cart plane loads of cash across the world to purchase black market weapons hold any more water now? These are some of the questions Nigerians are asking, not an untenable spin by untruthful government officials”, it said.
The party also wondered whether the funds being ferried up and down by the Jonathan administration were appropriated by the National Assembly, or whether they are part of the missing $20 billion oil money.
APC slammed the federal government for issuing childish and immature threats against South Africa threatening its investments in the country, instead of addressing the pertinent questions surrounding the illegal arms procurement deals.
“Mr. President, you cannot threaten another country when your administration is wilfully breaking the laws of that country. In this case, your Administration stands on a weak moral ground, as its hands have been caught in the cookie jar. Therefore, issuing infantile threats is laughable, unacceptable and wrong”, the party said.
The statement reminded the current administration that nowhere else does a government engage in illegal black market movement of money or arms – both signatures of terrorism worldwide, adding that only terrorists and pariah nations move money and procure arms in clandestine manners as the Jonathan Administration is doing.
“Even at a time when we were ruled by military dictators and our country was a pariah nation, we did not experience these repeated and embarrassing national disgrace and clandestine, terrorist groups’ approach to the purchase of arms. How can Nigeria truly be a respected member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) when our own government and its operatives are self-identified and self-confessed money launderers?” APC queried.
The party wondered how many other unknown scandals the Jonathan Administration has plunged Nigeria, and appealed to the Administration to tread softly in the interest of all Nigerians, who will be the ones to suffer the repercussions of the government’s repeated illegal conduct.