Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent
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    Tuesday, 4 November 2014

    Will EFCC arrest Pastor Ayo Otisejafor over $9.3million arms deal?



     By Emmanuel Udom
                       
     
    Ayo Oritsejafor is a famous pastor in Nigeria. He is in fact the national president of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Radical, daring, out-spoken.

    He is also a very good friend of President Gooluck Ebele Jonathan and their closeness is something some Nigerians are still amaze about.

    But, in recent times, Oritsejafor, who owns as church at Warri, Delta state and has preached sermons in virtually every country across the globe, was linked with a curious arms deal.

    For the man of God, this is indeed a trying period. A period every mortal must inescapably pass through one time or the other.

    Daily Independent recalled that September 5, this year, the South African authorities grounded a private jet, which was later identified as belonging the Warri-born pastor.

    Yes, the pastor owned up, telling the entire world that he is the owner of the private jet.

    But, weeks down the line, the world has literally stood still, while reactions continued to pour from left, right and center. In one breath, some are calling for the head of the man.

    Terrorism is a global issue. It is not a one run off war where the enemies are known and territories clearly defined. All over the world, security agents task themselves when it comes to terrorism war.

    Nigeria, since 2009 has been going through this hellish routes and the country has so far spent trillions of naira in desperate attempts to crush the Boko Haram terrorists.

    But, who is winning this terror of a war? While we are still contemplating the answer to this question, the private jet was said to be carrying some cool $9.3 million, purportedly meant for the purchase of arms and ammunitions to fight the daring Boko Haram sect, presently terrorizing states in the north eastern parts of Nigeria.

    The Oritsejafor private jet  with US registration No: N808HG was grounded for the simple reason that  it contravenes the  South African laws, which stipulates that persons entering or leaving the country of the late Nelson Mandela must not carry cash exceeding R25, 000 or its equivalent any foreign currency.

    This seems to be the end of the storyline. But, is it? The answer is no, as the federal government reacting to the scandal generated by the arms deal insisted that it had to tow the direction due to the urgency of the realities on ground in terrorist war torn states of  Yobe, Adamawa, and Bornu.
    While some sympathized with the government and the pastor, The Buhari Vanguard in its reactions said the deal was illegal and suspicious.

    Infact, Comrade Jasper Azuatalem, chairman of the group insisted the pastor should be arrested, investigated and prosecuted by security operatives in connection with the $9.3million arms purchase deal.

    He condemned the deal, alleging that the weaponry was to be purchased for use by terrorists, pirates, and other militants in the Niger Delta.

    The cordial relationship between the pastor and President Goodluck Jonathan is one angle the group is pessimistic that Oritsejafor may escape the eagle of the anti-graft agency.

    Ibrahim Larmode, Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did not help matters on this operation arrest, investigate and prosecute Oritsejafor as he could not be reached at the weekend.

    But, Festus Keyamo, the radical Lagos lawyer is one person that is also towing the line of The Buhari Vanguard.  The federal government explanations, as far he is concerned are ludicrous, laughable and untenable.

    “Is it really faster and safer to do an international transaction of such magnitude by ferrying cash across the continent or by a simple wire transfer that can go through in a matter of few minutes or few hours?, he asked.

    He wondered the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan regime failed to order officials of the department of State Security Services (SSS) or those from the office of the National Security Adviser to accompanied the jet on it journey.



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