Nigeria MPs want answers about US$9.3m seized in South Africa


Nigerian Members of Parliament are currently investigating how US$9.3 million belonging to the Nigerian government ended up on a private jet in South Africa where it was seized at Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg.

With the money were two Nigerians and an Israeli.

Nigeria’s Senate Defense Committee Chairperson Thomson Sekibo made the disclosure on Wednesday after meeting with his country’s security chiefs.

“We have started the investigation. When we get through the investigation, we will brief you. The money belongs to the Nigerian government,” he told journalists.

A PR firm working for the Nigerian government has refuted reports that the money, in US$100 bills and stashed in three bags, was intended for an illegal arms deal saying everything about the deal was above board.

While Nigerians want to know if it is normal practice for their government to fly huge sums of money in private jets, alarm bells also rang when it was reported that the jet belonged to Ayo Oritsejafor, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

The prominent cleric has denied it.

Nigeria has an annual security budget of US$6 billion However, analysts question if the money is spent in a transparent manner especially when army units complained that they were poorly equipped to fight the Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

Recently, Boko Haram has captured towns and villages in the northeast and said it was establishing a caliphate.