NIGERIA: $9.3m Arms Deal: Presidency Clears CAN Leader Ayo Oritsejafor

As controversy continues to trail the $9.3 million arms deal, the federal government yesterday exonerated the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, of blame in the involvement of his aircraft in the deal in South Africa.

The Senior Special Assistant to Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, told journalists in Abuja that Oritsejafor, who is also the founder of Word of Life Bible Church, was innocent and had no business with the said deal.

“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 advised.

The presidential aide urged Nigerians to stop playing politics with every issue of national concern, saying it is not in tandem with patriotism.

According to him, the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) had done well by coming out promptly to tell the truth on the matter.

He said it would not be okay for government to be making public its plans on how to tackle the ongoing security challenges in the country.

Okupe said: “The linking of 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  some Nigerians do, they go to any extent to politicise everything and everyday. What bothers me here is the manner in which people want to bring down Oritsejafor on this matter. It is pure absurdity.

“Oritsejafor has no business in this matter. It is true that he owns the aircraft but there are over 200 private Nigerians who have jets. 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 handing 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 car hire services. And he decides to carry somebody having Indian hemp, and you will link it up with the man who gave it out? Excuse me, this is ridiculous.”

He also cleared the air on criticisms that the issue went out of hand because the government did not come out publicly on the issue before embarking on the adventure.

Okupe stated that, “the Nigerian government cannot share all information about the issuebecause it is a security matter. It is an issue, which we cannot just bring to the 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.

“These are very serious national security affairs and running a government is not the same thing as running Shoprite, where everything is on the table and on display. There is nothing shady about the African deal and the Office of the NSA has done very well because at the appropriate time, they came in 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.”

He likewise explained that the second controversial deal had made the first legitimate because it was a normal banking transaction.

“A company was mandated to do a national security assignment for the Government of Nigeria and because of the extant laws in Africa, that company was unable to deliver its contractual agreement with the Nigerian government; the company now wants a refund which is normal,” Okupe maintained.

Source: This Day
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