Even though it looks like an old story being refreshed for impact, the South African media have published documents confirming the legitimacy of the botched arms deals between Nigeria and the former apartheid enclave.
Reports by Rapport and City Press appeared to finally vindicate Federal Government’s official position that the transactions were legitimate as they confirmed that contrary to insinuations, end user certificates and a ‘shopping’ list accompanied the transactions as well as a note from Nigerian government authenticating the deals.
According to the reports, documents show that the earlier consignment was approved by the Nigerian government – through the Office of national security adviser which is officially mandated to issue the end-user certificate for such transactions that involved security agencies in Nigeria.
An entire “shopping list” was also said to have been supplied with the certificate, which included everything from helicopters to unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.
A top security source in the intelligence service disclosed that “in issuing end-user certificate, the ONSA ensures that it carries all relevant agencies and stakeholders along. Therefore, such a responsibility is not a unilateral development.
“For security reasons, the chains leading to the issuance of end-user certificate cannot be put in the public domain.
“The recent interest in arms purchase was informed by the challenges of insurgency which our nation had been grappling with in the last few years. This is why the understanding of all Nigerians is necessary.
“Nigeria is desperate to counter activities of terrorists no matter what it takes even when some of our friends are not being fair to us.
“The government appeals to the media and all Nigerians, especially the opposition, to consider the overall national interest on security issues. They should not read negative meaning to every good intention of government in tackling insecurity in the country,” the officer added.
The curious interest in the nation arms deal in the past few weeks appeared to have suggested that some vested interests do not want the nation to win the war against insurgency. Some fifth columnists are certainly at work to achieve a clandestine purpose.
The government and some top intelligence officers in Nigeria are concerned about how some officials of South Africa decided to frustrate the efforts of Nigeria at containing the activities of terrorists operating in the North-Eastern axis especially since authoritative sources confirmed that there were official communications at the top level of the two governments.
Some diplomats in Nigeria are also concerned that despite the leeway given to South African companies to thrive in Nigeria, there are still officials of the country who are determined to frustrate Nigeria, which in April this year overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy.
The recent story may just be a refreshment of the old story with a new story angle.