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$9.3m Seized Cash: Asari Dokubo Among Arrested Persons, APC Seeks Probe

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By Kevwe Ebireri, Abuja

Indications have emerged that former Niger-Delta militant, Asari Dokubo, was one of the two Nigerians arrested along with an Israeli by South Africa’s airport officials mid-September with an undeclared $9.3 million stashed in suitcases for the purchase of arms and ammunition on behalf of the federal government.

The private jet used to carry the cash is owned by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ayo Oritsejafor, who has since denied knowledge of the transaction, explaining that he had leased the aircraft to a third party.

The identity of the two Nigerians had not been known but it has come out now that Dokubo was one of the two men detained by South African authorities.

As the issue became public discussion, the Nigerian government admitted it was in charge of the transaction and that it was normal practice to procure arms with cash, adding that it had submitted relevant data and documents on the transaction to the South African investigators, as proof of its legitimacy.

The federal government said it decided to buy the arms secretly because the U.S. government had allegedly blocked its efforts to buy arms openly.

South African investigators, however, said that the explanations given about the money were flawed and riddled with discrepancies.

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Just as the matter was yet to be sorted out, another $5.7 million, also meant for the purchase of arms, was seized Monday.

The All Progressive Congress, APC, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to explain to Nigerians why Dokubo, who has severally threatened that there would be bloodshed if Jonathan was not re – lected, should be allowed to purchase arms on behalf of the federal government.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, reacting on Wednesday to the revelation that the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, issued the end-user certificate for the arms purchase, said the presidential aide is not constitutionally authorized to purchase arms for any of the armed services.

”Under our Constitution, the NSA is an adviser and has no executive powers to deploy troops from any of the services or purchase arms for them. That the arms purported to be purchased from South Africa were ordered from the office of the NSA is nothing but a mere fabrication, and raises serious questions about the motive for the purchase,” the party stated.

It also wondered whether Dokubo had already started stockpiling arms to make his threats a reality, since elections are due in a few months’ time.

”If these arms are meant to fight insurgency, as the government has claimed, what is Asari Dokubo’s business purchasing arms for the Nigerian military, if indeed they were for the military? Does it not occur to the Nigerian government that this man who once took arms against the state may not have jettisoned his sinister plan against the same state? Which country will ever allow a man who once carried arms against the state to now be purchasing arms for the same state?” the APC questioned.

The party also called on the media, in pursuance of its constitutional role of a watchdog, not to relent in exposing the circumstances surrounding the cash-for-arms deals, which have caused the country great embarrassment.

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