Wednesday, 8 October 2014

$5.7 Mln Arms Deal: Jonathan Owes Nigerians An Explanation – Gbajabiamila

The Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on 

Wednesday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to address the nation, over the 

second botched arms deal, noting that something was fundamentally wrong.

Gbajabiamila, a member of the All Progressives Congress, who said the details of the deal are sketchy, noted that a second arms deal scandal, shortly after the first, did not bode well for the image of the nation.
“If barely just a week ago, we had a case of $9.3 (million) and then a week after another $5.7 (million). Isn't this about $15 million? It doesn't really speak well of Nigeria as a country, as an entity. It projects Nigeria as a banana republic; Where you can just do arms deal off the shelve, like you’re going into a grocery store to buy groceries.”
“The way I look at it, without actually apportioning blames as such but sometimes they say – if it talks like a dog, walks like a dog, by God it’s a dog.
“There’s something wrong fundamentally; Where a whole country boxes millions of dollars into several suitcases, charters a jet and takes that money out of the country. It raises more questions than answers”.
He further asked why one of the planes in the Presidential Fleet was not used for the purchase, if it was legal.
“We have over 10 planes in the Presidential Fleet that we pay hard earned money for in this country. If this was perfectly above board, if this was legit, if there was nothing untoward about this, if it was official, why wouldn’t you use one of the planes in the Presidential Fleet”.
“Where is the Nigerian official that was on that flight”, he asked, highlighting the absence of a Ministry of Defence official and the National Security Adviser.
Making reference to an analysis by a former Aviation Minister and a card-carrying member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Femi Fani-Kayode, Rep. Gbajabiamila noted that the former Aviation minister had blamed everybodyexcept the Nigerian government.
“He blamed everybody (including) the American government, South African government, the opposition. He blamed everybody but government. These are the problems we have in Nigeria. If you cannot say it as it is, then we are in trouble”.
The Representative argued that President Goodluck Jonathan owed the citizens an explanation as the issue borders on money laundering and criminality.
He supported the National Assembly’s investigation into the matter, noting that “the concept of checks and balances is very essential in any democracy”.
“I feel sorry for Nigeria. There’s no way and no how in an advanced matured democracy where issues count and people are held accountable that the legislative arm of government with a major scandal like this, would determine not to investigate.
“At least investigate, ask questions. That’s all the APC members were asking”.