Oritsejafor’s Jet Saga: If Only Reverend Dziggau will Tell and Live for the Truth By Sesugh Akume
Dear Reverend (Dr) Emmanuel Dziggau,
I read statements credited to you in the media that TEKAN, Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi a Nijeriya–the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria, a federation of 13 denominations which forms one of the blocs in CAN, the Christian Association of Nigeria; has condemned the series of attacks on the CAN president Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor over leasing out his personal private jet originally meant for spreading the gospel, for a criminal cash-for-arms trip to South Africa. That the “attacks” are unfounded, undeserving, based on half-truths, hearsay, and conjecture. The facts, according to you (or TEKAN) as far as his involvement goes seem to be clear: he has interests in the jet but not in the company which operates and hired it to a third party. That he’s so far removed from the incident, he surely can’t have anything to do with it. You then insult those who may be suggesting that perhaps since the air crew are his, they may be part of the conspiracy; and then advise those “calling for the head of Oritsejafor” to allow investigations into the case concluded before “crucifying” him.
With due respect reverend sir, you missed it on so many fronts, and I deem it my patriotic duty to get the issues straight. First the misinformation and spin. When a personal private jet is used commercially, it’s illegal; it’s called moonlighting. What ought to have been done was to first convert it from a personal private jet to a private charter jet and obtain a licence to operate it commercially, which was never done. Oritsejafor can’t claim ignorance of this, therefore his complicity.
You may wish to recall that on Tuesday 16 September, Sunday Oibe as the director of national issues, on behalf of CAN; Emmanuel Ohaeri of Eagle Air; and Bayo Adewoye of Word of Life Bible Church; all admitted that he owns the jet and also owns “residual interest” in Eagle Air, the company that operates the jet commercially on his behalf. Oritsejafor himself later admitted same. In simple English, he created a company, Eagle Air for moonlighting purposes. Reverend sir, how did you come about your version which says he doesn’t have interests in Eagle Air?
Further to that, Eagle Air leased the jet to Green Coast Produce Limited the third party, who in turn claim to have hired it to a fourth party, one John Ishyaku, for the South African trip. So far all the parties claim no wrongdoing. The facts are there in the open that on that money-laundering/gun-running trip, 3 passengers were caught on board, an Israeli, Eyal Meska and 2 Nigerians. 1 of the Nigerians happens to be Felix Idiga, the chairman, managing director/chief executive officer of Jafac Group. This Felix Idiga’s a well-known business associate of Oritsejafor’s, they both sit on the board of Swat Nigeria. Incidentally, he also sits on the board of Eagle Air with Oritsejafor, the same Eagle Air that leased out the jet for the criminal activities. Eagle Air which Oritsejafor owns leased it’s jet to a company, which hired in out, but on board was an Oritsejafor business associate/board member in Eagle Air the leaser. Please, stop lying to Nigerians; from the prima facie, it’s very obvious Oritsejafor has his hands deep in the illegal cash-for-arms deal.
Even if the Nigerian state’s involved in criminal gun-running, cash-smuggling and money-laundering against her own laws as it claimed awareness and owned the evil; is Oritsejafor’s the only private jet in Nigeria to be used? In light of the above, the proper thing would’ve have been for Oritsejafor to resign from his position, seeing that it is an abomination for a cleric, and even worse a president of CAN to be in the remotest connected to or even mentioned in relation to such grievous offenses. If he doesn’t have any honour or decency, CAN ought to have asked him to quietly step aside pending a thorough and transparent investigation. If found guiltless, he’d then have resumed his offices. I find CAN’s hasty and flawed defence of him repugnant. It is improper and unethical. I find even more loathsome and distasteful the insulting and uncouth language deployed by the said Sunday Oibe on CAN’s behalf, in the shameful cover up, as much as I find the politicisation and trivializing of such a grave matter. I also see you’re joining issues with a certain individual who is being blamed for lending his voice on this issue out, carrying out a civic duty as a mere diversion and distraction by CAN. Character defamation and ad hominem only prove an intellectual deficit and admission guilt; and CAN ought to be too big to engage in exchanges with individuals. Besides, if you still claim to be Christians, I thought the bible says conversations should be full of grace, seasoned with salt so as to know how to answer everyone?
You may wish to recall reverend sir, that on Tuesday 5 January, you had insulted a fellow minister, openly calling him a “confused man” among others, for decrying the obvious that the present CAN leadership is an extension, an appendage of the present government. Your ministerial ethics should’ve precluded you from committing such an abomination. Not quite 2 years after your insolence, we have CAN stating unashamedly in that unfortunate press release earlier referred to, that news of the dirty arms deal’s “sponsored by some members of the opposition political party because of Oritsejafor’s support for President Goodluck Jonathan”!
Why then did you insult a fellow minister for stating the obvious earlier? What’s CAN’s business with party politics? Should CAN or a CAN president be partisan?
This present generation of CAN leaders is becoming an embarrassment, and is doing everything to soil the CAN we once knew. This present generation of Christian leaders (if you’re still Christians) must go back to your roots and live by the teachings of Christ and the ways of those gone before you. You may wish to recall reverend sir, that when this very same notorious Bombadier Challenger 600 with US registration number N808HG involved in smuggling and gun running was first gotten in 2012, it drew an outcry from the public, not leaving out other Christian leaders, including a bishop, none of whom was spared the usual insolence. In an interview published on 25 November 2012, Oritsejafor admitted regarding the jet that “…I can’t buy a jet. I can’t afford it. I don’t have that kind of money.” But further insisted that he was not ashamed to own one, [even though having admitted he can’t legitimately afford one]. Deeming it a necessity, not a luxury, especially for one deeply involved in the work of God to own planes.
It’s being unable to maintain this white elephant that led to its illegal moonlighting and instead of being a vessel for the work of the gospel of peace, became a vessel for gun-running and cash-smuggling, and lies with insolence to cover up. But I’ve seen the bible warn repeatedly to beware of covetousness, because of its dangers.
The objectives of CAN and vision of its founding fathers include uniting all Christians; promoting understanding, peace and unity amongst various peoples; acting as the watchperson of the spiritual and moral welfare of the nation; and so on. You yourself know how far away from these noble objectives you have strayed. For instance, A major (and founding) bloc of the CAN has had to excuse itself from CAN at the national level, instead of considering their reasons and taking conciliatory steps toward promoting unity; that has been ignored and covered up with insults.
Also, just last week, the archbishop of Abuja and primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, who’s presently CAN national vice president conferred on President Jonathan what he christened a Primatial Award of Excellence in Christian Stewardship; at a time the president had just lied that his government has reduced poverty by 50%. An award at a time the president had said “some of the cases people call corruption is just people stealing”. I see no precedent for this award of sycophancy. I can’t see anywhere when the prophets bestowed an award on kings, nor Jesus, nor the apostles conferring same on politicians. This is not what Christian leaders of previous generations were known for, nor the CAN officials we knew especially 1988-2010. Curiously, this devious “primatial award” is the first of its kind ever in the history of the Anglican Church worldwide. These aren’t the precedents to set.
There ‘re the true men of God who’ll tell the truth that all liars have will have their part in hell? Are there still men of God or CAN officials who’ll relay across that God’s wrath’s on thieves and those who endorse them?
As the spiritual and moral watchperson, CAN and Christian leaders (indeed, as well as Muslim and other religious leaders) should’ve been noted for ensuring the immediate rescue by our government, of the 219 innocent schoolgirls of Government Secondary School, Chibok abducted 6 months ago in a few days, whilst trying to get an education; failure of which there will be an impending doom–their blood crying for vengeance will be on our heads; the entire nation ‘ll be under a curse, because they’re alive and can be rescued, but we seem not to care, meaning we have as it were, sacrificed them alive! CAN should be noted for speaking up against the elevation a civil servant who has been indicted of corruption and declared unfit to hold public office by an official government White Paper, to the exalted office of head of the civil service; a chief medical director of a state teaching hospital earlier sacked for stealing N36 million, yet was made minister of health. Also the president being openly seen with an individual repeatedly linked with terrorists, and so forth. Those actions are entrenching corruption, emboldening wrongdoers and killing the soul of the nation.
You conclude your audacious admonishment by asking those who have issues with a clergyman and CAN president being connected with a cash-smuggling and gun-running deal to allow investigations into the case concluded first. You lie by implying that there’s an investigation into the matter, whereas you know too well there’s none, either by the present pro-corruption government in which you have allies or by CAN as presently composed; which’s a crying shame!
But Nigeria’ll not always be this way.
Thank you very much.
Sesugh Akume @sesugh_akume on Twitter
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