An apparent detente following a stand-off between South Africa and Nigeria over the US$15million seized by the former may have been achieved. South African Ambassador to Nigeria, Myakayaka Manzini, has said his home government would return the $15 million it earlier seized over a botched arms deal. Manzani was quoted over an interview on Matters Arising, a programme aired on African Independent Television, AIT, on Tuesday. He said both parties had agreed through a political solution for the repatriation of the funds, noting Nigeria’s brotherly status. “Both countries have decided on a political solution to the issue. Nigeria is a big ally and a brother,” Manzini said. He said South Africa has a history of selling arms to Nigeria, would continue to do so in light of its current war against Boko Haram insurgents, and would not jeopardise its national interest.
Manzini said the process for the contentious funds had begun and would be completed soon.
South Africa earlier seized US$9.3billion ferried aboard a private jet belonging to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. Two weeks after, the country confisticated another US$5.7 million purportedly meant for arms procurement. The second seizure was brought about by the failure of Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, to fulfill an arms transactional obligation to a Nigerian company, Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, claimed to be acting on behalf of the Nigerian government.
Despite the backlash the deals generated, the Nigerian government has maintained they are legitimate.