Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nigeria to demand seized $9.3million weapon money from South Africa

The Federal Government is to demand the release of the $9.3m weapon money seized from some agents of the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan by the South African authorities on September 5, 2014.

President Muhammadu Buhari made this known while addressing Nigerians resident in the former Apartheid enclave at the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg on Monday.

He also told the gathering that he would seek a review of the cases of Nigerians currently in South African prisons and those pending in courts when President Jacob Zuma visits Nigeria.

The President said, “I’m told there are 83 Nigerians in prisons here(South Africa);  I don’t know what they have done but I spoke to the President of South Africa this(Monday) afternoon.

“He(Zuma) wants to come to Nigeria. There are issues he knows which he wants to talk about. I will certainly talk to him; I hope our ambassador will send a comprehensive report about the court cases and about those who lost properties during the xenophobic attacks recently.

“And at that time, I will attempt to ask him about our $9.3m which was not correctly transferred.”

A month after the September 5,2014 seizure, the South African authorities reportedly impounded another $5.7m, claiming that both funds were to be used for illegal purchase of arms.

However, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, said the transactions were legal and urged the Zuma government to stop actions that could degenerate to a diplomatic showdown between the two countries.

Indications later emerged that an aircraft conveying the $9.3m belonged to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria and a close confidant of Jonathan, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Oritsejafor denied knowledge of the arms deal.

Earlier, the Consul-General of Nigeria in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, had told the President that 143 Nigerians were killed in South Africa between 2011 and 2014 while 81 were in   prison.

“Out of these 81 Nigerians, 21 have been convicted,” she said, adding that shops and other property worth millions of Rands belonging to Nigerians were destroyed during the xenophobic attacks.

The President of Nigerian Union in South Africa,  Ikechukwu Anyene, urged the President to facilitate compensation for Nigerians affected by the attacks.

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