$9.3m SA Arms Deal: Oritsejafor Has No Case To Answer – Presidency
SAN FRANCISCO, October 12, (THEWILL) - As controversy continues to trail the alleged involvement of an aircraft belonging to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in the $9.3m South African cash-for- arms deal, the Presidency on Sunday, cleared Oritsejafor of any wrongdoing , saying the CAN President has no case to answer.
Exonerating Oritsejafor from the deal in Abuja during a chat with journalists, the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan (Public Communication), Dr. Doyin Okupe, declared that Oritsejafor had no hand in the deal.
According to Okupe, “Most Nigerians do not also respect the sensibilities of other people. Oritsejafor is the President of CAN and Head of all Christians in Nigeria who is representing at least 50 per cent of people in this country. When it comes to a man like that, people should be cautious and circumspect.”
Okupe also cautioned Nigerians not to play politics with every issue of national interest, saying such is unpatriotic.
The President's aide maintained that the Office of National Security Adviser has done well by coming out promptly to tell the truth on the matter, saying it would not be proper for government to be making public its plans on how to tackle the ongoing security challenges in the country.
According to Okupe, “The linking of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is the most unfortunate thing; to put the very respectable, responsible, honest and sincere President of CAN in this matter is the extreme of mischief.
'It just shows you what Nigerians do, they go to any extent to politicise everything and everyday. What bothers me here is the manner with which people want to bring down Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor on this matter. It is pure absurdity.'
Declaring that “Oritsejafor has no business in this matter,' Okupe added that 'It is true that he owns the aircraft but there are over 200 private Nigerians who have jets.'
Speaking further, he said: 'Apart from those who use it frequently, some give it out to get some money and defray some of the costs. If you put your jet down, you pay money and parking charges everyday.
“He gave the private jet to a company to manage. The company is handling it and these people gave out the plane that is available. What has this to do with Oritsejafor? If I have many cars at the airport and decide to give one to a car hire services (provider). And he decides to carry somebody having Indian hemp, and you will link it up to the man who gave it out? … This is ridiculous.”
Defending the government's handling of the matter, Okupe said: “The Nigerian government cannot share all information about the issues because it is a security matter. It is an issue which we cannot just bring to pubic domain. For goodness sake, we need to have some quiet innocent support. I am surprised that Nigerians want to discuss security issues openly and publicly when a war is still going on. '
According to Okupe, “These are very serious national security affairs and running a government is not the same thing as running a Shoprite, where everything is on the table and on display. There is nothing shady about the South African deal and the Office of the NSA has done very well because at the appropriate time, they came in to say that, 'yes, this money belongs to us and this was what it was meant for'; that explanation itself was okay. There is no hanky panky on this matter.”
Okupe maintained that the second controversial arms deal has legitimised the first because it was a normal banking transaction.
According to him, “A company was mandated to do a national security assignment for the Federal Government of Nigeria and because of the extant laws in South Africa, that company was unable to deliver its contractual agreement with the Nigerian government; the company now wants a refund which is normal.'