Wednesday, 17 June 2015 13:36

I’ll ask Zuma about Nigeria's $9.3M seized in botched Arms Deal – Buhari

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A Bombardier Challenger 600, with a Nigerian flight crew piloted by Captain Tunde Ojongbede. Detained by SA authorities 5/9/2014President Muhammadu Buhari has said the $9.3m arms deal cash which South African authorities seized from two Nigerians and an Israeli last September was “not correctly transferred” to Nigeria.

He said he would ask South African President Jacob Zuma about the money during his proposed visit to Nigeria.

The president said this in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday while meeting with members of the Nigerian community there.

At Lanseria International Airport Johannesburg on September 5, 2014, South African operatives had confiscated $9.3m stashed in three suitcases in a private jet that flew in from Nigerians, accusing the occupants of attempting to smuggle the cash into their country.

The South African authorities also last October seized yet another $5.7m cash belonging to Nigeria for arms purchase.

South African Ambassador to Nigeria Lulu Mnguni had reportedly later said his country was ready to return the money to Nigeria.

But Buhari said on Monday that the $9.3m arms deal cash was not correctly returned to the Nigerian government.

He described the recent xenophobia attacks in South Africa as civil disturbances, saying he would also discuss the losses Nigerians suffered in the incident with Zuma.
He said he would also raise with Zuma, the issue of the imprisonment of 83 Nigerians in South Africa.

“I’m told there are 83 Nigerians in prison. I don’t know what they’ve done, but I spoke to the president of South Africa this (Monday) afternoon. He wants to come to Nigeria. There are issues he wants to talk about. I’ll certainly talk to him. I hope our ambassador will send a comprehensive report about the court cases, about those who lost properties during the disturbances. And at that time I will attempt to ask him about our $9.3 million which was not correctly transferred,” he said.

He told the Nigerian community in South Africa that he refused to read his draft speech because he wanted to speak to them from “the bottom of my heart.”

Buhari, who said the G7 leaders were anxious to help Nigeria tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, also decried the spate of kidnapping in the south.

He said: “I could recall when I was in secondary school or a junior officer, during Christmas and New Year, businesses close virtually in the north especially in Kano because Kano was the centre. All the Ibos would’ve gone home for Christmas and New Year, but now, at least two-third of them don’t go because they’ll either get abducted or their wives, children or their parents and demands they’ll make for their release will be much more than their capital.”

Buhari said he wished he were a head of state few years ago when he was a military governor as a young man.

The president stated that his love for the country had brought him to power again.

He said: “How I wish I became head of state when I was a governor just a few years as a young man. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do. But what brought me there, I think, mainly, is because I love this country.

“I was in the war front for 30 months during our civil war. I lost a lot of loyal people to me. I lost a relative; a lot of Nigerians did too. We lost about two million Nigerian lives just to keep Nigeria one. So, nobody should come now and tell us rubbish! We’re going to remain one country. God has given us another opportunity to re-organise this country. Those who work hard, the society will pay them back.”

-Daily Trust NGR

Read 3468 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 10:08