Smuggled $9.3mn: APC Reps walk out on PDP colleagues

Smuggled $9.3mn: APC Reps walk out on PDP colleagues

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 4:05 pm

Ayorinde oluokun/Abuja

Controversies over the $9.3 million seized from two Nigerians and an Isreali on arrival in South Africa in a private jet boiled over on the floor of the Nigerian House of Representatives on Tuesday as lawmakers from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC walked out on their colleagues in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP over what they described as attempts to sweep the issue of the smuggled cash under the carpet by the latter.

Ismaila Kawu, the Deputy Minority Leader, had in a motion raised on the floor asked the lawmakers to debate the controversies surrounding the smuggled cash taken to South Africa in a private jet owned by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President, Christian Association of Nigeria.

While describing the issue of the smuggled cash as “very scandalous, very disgraceful and very appalling,” Kawu who moved the motion under matters of urgent National Importance asked the House to investigate the matter through its committees of Defence and Aviation.

National Assembly: rowdy session at House of Representatives

National Assembly: rowdy session at House of Representatives

But further attempt to debate the issue was nipped in the bud by Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Speaker who presided over the session.

Ihedioha said it is better to refer the matter to a committee, an assertion that resulted in a brief rowdiness in the House as mostly PDP lawmakers supported him.

The Deputy Speaker eventually called for a vote on the issue and majority of the members voted not to allow a debate. However, members of APC walked out of the green chamber immediately after the voting.

In a media briefing after the walk out addressed by Samson Osagie, the Minority Whip, APC lawmakers described the manner the $9.3m was smuggled out as a shame to the country.

“For us as a people and for us as lawmakers, we find this unacceptable, unethical, illegitimate and in our view, it is an illegal transaction,” said Osagie who added that the Federal Government should explain to Nigerians the source of the money and the real purpose it was meant for.

“If indeed, the matter involves security issues like the purchase of arms by foreign government like Nigeria, why was the South African government not brought into the picture before hand and how could South African government be sure that the arms were purchased legitimately by the Nigerian government and not by the insurgents when there were no officials of the NSA’s office or the Director of state security department that accompanied such money?,” Osagie who was flanked by other lawmakers queried.

There were allegations earlier in the day that the Federal Government had bribed members of House of Representatives with $20, 000 each and their Senate counterparts with $50, 000 each to stop them from probing the cash scandal now being tagged Oritsejaforgate.

The Senate had also last week initiated a probe into the smuggled cash scandal.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence and Army, Senator George Sekibo told journalists last week that his committee has invited the National Security Adviser and other top military chiefs over the $9.3m cash seized by the South African government.

According to him, the military chiefs invited include Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.); Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, and Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah.

The military commanders were expected to appear before the Senate commitee today.

Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.