$9.3m arms deal: Oritsejafor breaks silence


… Says, ‘I couldn’t have offended Jesus Christ’
 President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor yesterday ‎broke his silence on the controversy surrounding the confiscated $9.3 million by South Africa, involving his private jet, saying he had no hand in the alleged money laundering deal.Oritsejafor, who spoke during the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of CAN at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, regretted that there had been attempts in the media to link him with the incident by mischievous elements, adding that he had kept quiet all the while because he needed to explain his position to the church, which was his primary constituency.

In his address at the meeting, copies of which were emailed to journalists in Kaduna, the CAN president, who had come under attacks over the incident, said he was not a party to the movement of $9.3 million from Nigeria to South Africa to purchase arms and ammunition.

His words: “I wish to assure you that I will not do anything to tarnish the image of Jesus Christ or compromise the divine standard of the church. As you are all aware, the media had been awash in the past few days in an unfortunate incident involving the movement of funds from Nigeria to South Africa. In the unfortunate news reports, attempts have been made to link me directly with the transaction.

“So far, I have refrained from making any direct public response pending the time that I would have briefed the leaders of the church and explain my position on the issues to them. I believe that the primary institution that I owe any explanation to, is the church.

“At the risk of being seen to be defending myself, I wish to confirm to the distinguished leaders of the church that the Bombardier Challenger 601 aircraft in question is mine. Members of our congregation and ministry partners worldwide presented the aircraft to me as a gift at the 40th anniversary of my call into the ministry.

“May I be permitted to stress that the aircraft was not given to me by the president of Nigeria, neither was it a settlement for any political favour or patronage.”

Pastor Oritsejafor declared: “The president of Nigeria has nothing to do with the gift of the aircraft. By the way, I still wonder why all those saying this, still cannot come out to show proof; so that the matter can be put to rest once and for all. Let me say that this might be an issue of the courts in the near future.”

Explaining the circumstances that led to the involvement of his aircraft, the CAN president said: “In order to ameliorate the cost of maintenance of the aircraft, I sought and got permit to allow the aircraft fly in and out of Nigeria. Based on this, I leased the aircraft on August 2, 2014 to a company to run it. It was the lessee that entered into an agreement with the people who carried out the transfer of funds. Having leased the aircraft to the Green Coast Produce Company Limited, any transaction undertaken with the aircraft can no longer be attached to me.

“Inasmuch as I am shocked and distressed by the incident, I wish to appeal to Christians in Nigeria to remember that a war has been waged against the Nigerian church. This war is being fought on many fronts and this unfortunate incident is another dimension in the assault against the church.

“It is clear that those who manipulated this conspiracy, desire to create a schism in the church. The media hype and the deliberate distortion of information that followed it confirmed that forces that desperately desire to cause division and disunity in the church are at work. Even the devil knows that a house that is divided cannot stand.

“As Christians, we need unity in the church now more than ever. We are witnessing inhuman attacks by religious extremists against Christians in the northern part of the country, while Christian infrastructure is being destroyed in hundreds.

“If we permit the enemy to divide us, our chances of corporate survival shall be severely threatened.

“Distinguished leaders of the church, please permit me to state clearly before God and before all of you here present today, that I am not a party to the movement of $9.3 million from Nigeria to South Africa to purchase arms and ammunition. I am not part of the deal. I know nothing about it.”

He appealed to heads of blocs that constitute CAN and heads of denominations and Christian leaders at different levels and spheres of influence, to use their good offices to caution and control their subordinates and followers from making public statements that would further polarise the church and strengthen the arms of the enemies of the church.”

Quoting Matthew Chapter 18 verses 15 to 20, Oritsejafor said: “If I offend you or it is you that offended me, instead of talking to media, let us talk to each other within the house of God.”

Source: Sun

Publish Date: 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014