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Nigeria to demand seized $9.3m weapon money from S’Africa

South African President Jacob Zuma

The Federal Government is to demand the release of the $9.3m weapon money seized   from some agents of the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan by the South African authorities on September 5, 2014.

President Muhammadu Buhari made this known while addressing Nigerians resident in the former Apartheid enclave at the Nigeran Consulate in Johannesburg on Monday.

He also told the gathering that he would seek a review of the cases of Nigerians currently in South African prisons and those pending in courts when President Jacob Zuma visits Nigeria.

The President said, “I’m told there are 83 Nigerians in prisons here(South Africa);   I don’t know what they have done but I spoke to the President of South Africa this(Monday) afternoon.

“He(Zuma) wants to come to Nigeria. There are issues he knows which he wants to talk about. I will certainly talk to him; I hope our ambassador will send a comprehensive report about the court cases and about those who lost properties during the xenophobic attacks recently.

“And at that time, I will attempt to ask him about our $9.3m which was not correctly transferred.”

A month after the September 5,2014 seizure, the South African authorities reportedly impounded another $5.7m, claiming that both funds were to be used for illegal purchase of arms.

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However, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, said the transactions were legal and urged the Zuma government to stop actions that could degenerate to a diplomatic showdown between the two countries.

Indications later emerged that an aircraft   conveying the $9.3m belonged to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria and a close confidant of Jonathan, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Oritsejafor denied knowledge of the arms deal.

Buhari, who also spoke on the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, urged Nigerians resident in South Africa to be good ambassadors of “our country.”

“Those of you who have the opportunity to come here and represent us, make sure that you are representing Nigeria, you are all ambassadors of Nigeria. This means a lot of patience, restraint, self-respect and pride. You must have all these, “he advised.

He said he was pleased that the G-7 leaders had expressed commitment to helping Nigeria tackle the challenge   and   develop   its oil and gas sectors.

The President added that the     leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission had set up a military command headquarters in Chad with a Nigerian general heading it.

Earlier, the Consul-General of Nigeria in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, had told the President that   143 Nigerians were killed in South Africa between 2011 and 2014 while 81 were in   prison.

“Out of these 81 Nigerians, 21 have been convicted,” she said, adding that shops and other property worth millions of Rands belonging to Nigerians were destroyed during the   xenophobic attacks.

The President of Nigerian Union in South Africa,   Ikechukwu Anyene, urged the President to facilitate compensation for Nigerians affected by the   attacks.

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