(Press Statement) The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre demands exhaustive investigations into the very recent scandalous development involving $9.3million found by South African authorities, in a private jet belonging to the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayodele Oritsejafor and of which the Federal Government has admitted Knowledge.
CISLAC recalls that on 5th September 2014, a jet said to be owned by Pastor Oritsejafor was impounded in South Africa stashed with $9.3 million undeclared cash allegedly meant for the purchase of arms.
We are dismayed that after the development, contrary to the rule of the House that stipulates that when a matter has been moved by way of a motion, the presiding officer shall allow time for those who want to speak for and against, a session of House of Representatives recently turned rowdy when the Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha refused to entertain debate on a motion seeking the probe of the incident in view of the sum involved, which is part of our common wealth.
CISLAC finds it disheartening that lawmakers would allow partisanship to cloud their sense of national responsibility in allowing such serious matter go unattended to at the expense of the sensibilities of the Nigerian people who voted them into office
Whereas the government of South Africa and its relevant institutions are making serious efforts to enforce the extant laws of their land, our elected representatives who make laws and are responsible for oversight are creating rowdy sessions and walking out of parliamentary sessions, thereby trivializing the issues at stake involving huge funds, security especially coming in just five months before the conduct of elections
We remind the Law makers that this act puts the image of our country in jeopardy before international community and reinforces the now infamous perception that Nigeria is an incurably corrupt nation and the response of the legislature falls short of the expectation of Nigerians.
CISLAC is aware of the position of the Federal Government and the explanation by the CAN president. However, these are neither here nor there and only throw up more questions than they answers
We demand that the National Assembly should eschew partisanship and immediately commence and conclude a full-fledged investigation into the transaction to determine the true circumstances resulting in the movement of such huge amounts of cash to a foreign country and sanction any erring persons or institutions are demanded by the law. They should make their findings public
We also demand that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate to establish the actual source of the money, involvement of the lease agents and in the legality of the entire transaction to determine the real motives behind it.
CISLAC further demand that the Central Bank of Nigeria which has relentlessly pursued a cashless Nigeria and which has the responsibility of monitoring cross-border transfer of funds and foreign exchange transactions should also undertake its own investigation and make its position public to prove non complicity in the entire transaction and avoid erosion of public confidence.
We call on the Federal Government to show good fate and allow relevant agencies to carry out their statutory functions as is done in democratic and civilized societies and should neither interfere nor attempt to mis-lead Nigerians with uncoordinated responses
We implore the National Assembly and the Executive arm should do all that is legally possible to retrieve the $93 million still in the custody of the South African authorities as Nigerians cannot afford to lose such an amount that is capable of significantly transforming their lives through the provision of social services, jobs and improved wellbeing due to the ineptitude or negligence of government officials
We call on all Nigerians to remain patriotic, maintain a spirit of oneness, regardless of tribal, ethnic, religious, sectional and political differences and maintain vigilance to ensure that selfish politicians do not truncate our hard earned democracy
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director of CISLAC