Nigeria News
Gun-running, money laundering, smuggling?

THE issue of how much disclosure is healthy for the citizenry has been a matter for public debate. For instance, if, in a war situation, the President of a nation suddenly became blind and unable to manage the affairs of state, would it be better to make this known to the public; or his lieutenants should shield him from public view and carefully carry on his responsibilities as if nothing has happened?

In any case, it is worse and patently more dangerous when a government becomes so secretive that it leaves the question of public information at the level of conjecture. When the human mind is permitted only to guess, the imagination runs riot and anything goes.Gun

In the latest of a series of global ridicule, to which the scandal-prone Goodluck Jonathan administration has been entangled, the administration is once again fingered in what increasingly looks like official smuggling, money laundering or gun-running, each of which is heinously criminal.

If we were to accept this scenario as a skeleton; and the Federal Government suddenly refuses to fully disclose its role in the sordid affair, everyone would be left to supply his own meat to the skeleton.

The former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, would quickly jump out and say, I told you long ago that our President is training snipers to get rid of all those who would be on his way to the 2015 presidential ambition. This would stick perfectly, the tons of denials we received from Jonathan at that time, notwithstanding.

By whatever name, the recent criminal exhibition in South Africa has serious implication for everyone in society: To the opposition politicians, the source of those guns with which they harass us on election day is now becoming clear. Who the gods want to kill, they first make mad. That perhaps explains why they are starting their procurement more than six months before the elections. It shows their level of desperation. Again, it is also good for the weapons to arrive in time so that they could be useful for their congresses and primaries.

In a pluralistic and multi-religious society, there is always the other side: The Muslims are already positing a scenario like this: “A private jet belonging to the President of the Nigerian Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs, the Sultan of Sokoto, is impounded in South Africa, Iaden with undeclared cash to the tune of almost $10 million. Also arrested are two Nigerians and a Saudi Arabian citizen. The people claim that they are in South Africa to purchase arms…”

How would those of us Christians have reacted to this scenario? This is the opposite number of the case at hand, with the impounded plane, Iaden with undeclared cash to the tune of almost $10 million, belonging to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor – President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.

All in the name of God! The whole thing is becoming very intriguing. The South African government was unaware that the Nigerian government was coming to buy weapons in their country. What this means is that a foreign country can now walk into another country, buy weapons and walk away?

If, as claimed, that the jet was on lease, who authorised Pastor Oritsejafor to operate commercial flights with his private jet since he knows the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities, NCAA, rule that owners of private jets (as they are stupendously rich enough to afford the plane in the first place) can only carry family members and friends?

Who authorised the loading of almost $10 million cash on this jet at a Nigerian airport? Where were the Nigerian Customs authorities who ask and frisk passengers to declare sums in excess of a few thousand dollars?

Where was the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, that this hefty amount could be moved without their knowledge? Or was this transaction cleared by the same alleged CBN insider who facilitates the funding and financing of Boko Haram, as hinted by Australian negotiator, Reverend Stephen Davis?

What exactly were those weapons intended for, considering there was an Israeli citizen on the “mission” and Reverend Davis had pointed fingers at some highly-placed non-Muslim retired military top brass with close contact with Israel and its military/security industry?

Where is Sule Lamido’s son? Knowing what it had in mind, an honest government would have first vacated the conviction of Lamido’s son who was caught with the paltry sum of $50,000. They should also apologise to the young man since it is now clear that he was convicted on “procedural error”. Of course, the timing is also important: One happened when Lamido was hobnobbing with the opposition and the other is coming on the heels of a major election!

Whatever categorisation is acceptable to the Federal Government, smuggling is bad; money laundering is worse; and gun-running is worst. A combination of the trio would wreck a nation!

It is doubtful if anyone can be swayed by Femi Fani-Kayode’s tacit admission of old crimes: “Much ado has been made about recent events in South Africa concerning the Nigerian-owned jet that was found loaded with millions of dollars and that was in the process of procuring arms… As a former Minister of Aviation, l wish to assure the general public that the flying of large sums of cash by security and intelligence agencies for the purchase of arms in a time of war and conflict is something that is quite normal and that it happens quite often. As a matter of fact, it has happened under successive Nigerian governments, both military and civilian.”

Yes, you are perfectly allowed to commit any crime but don’t get caught. The South African authorities have been able to cut us to our right size of being innocent at home but guilty abroad. It happens all the time.

There is no escaping the inevitable conclusion that the situation facing us is precarious. It can still be saved, not by ‘bold-face’ but by unfettered explanations from President Jonathan and his men.

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