The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday broke his silence over the $9.3m arms deal scandal in which his private jet was used to carry the huge sum of money out of Nigeria to South Africa. Speaking at the National Executive Council meeting of CAN at the National Christian Center in Abuja, Pastor Oritsejafor absolved himself of any wrong doing, saying he would never do anything that would tarnish the image of Jesus Christ
“I wish to assure you that I will not do anything to tarnish the image of Jesus Christ or compromise the divine standard of the church. As you are all aware, the media has been awashed in the past few days about an unfortunate incident involving the movement of funds from Nigeria to South Africa. In the unfortunate news reports, attempts have been made to link me directly with the transaction. So far, I have refrained from making any direct public response pending the time that I would have briefed the leaders of the church and explained my position on the issues to them.
I believe that the primary institution that I owe any explanation to is the church. At the risk of being seen to be defending myself, I wish to confirm to the distinguished leaders of the church that the Bombardier Challenger 601 aircraft in question is mine. The aircraft was presented to me as a gift by members of our congregation and ministry partners worldwide at my 40th anniversary of my call into the ministry. May I be permitted to stress that the aircraft was not given to me by the President of Nigeria, neither was it a settlement for any political favour or patronage. With the benefit of hindsight, the President of the country was a guest in our church during the anniversary celebration when the jet was presented to me. This has construed an implication that it was a gift from the President of the country. The President of Nigeria has nothing to do with the gift of the aircraft. By the way, I still wonder why all those saying this cannot come out to show proof so that the matter can be put to rest once and for all. Let me say that this might be an issue of the court in the near future ”he said
“Based on this, I leased the aircraft on August 2, 2014, to a company to run it. It was the lease that entered into an agreement with the people who carried out the transfer of funds. Having leased the aircraft to the Green Coast Produce Company Limited, any transaction undertaken with the aircraft can no longer be attached to me. Inasmuch as I am shocked and distressed by the incident, I wish to appeal to Christians in Nigeria to remember that a war has been waged against the Nigerian church. This war is being fought on many fronts and this unfortunate incident is another dimension in the assault against the church.” He said
He went further to state that;
“The media hype and the deliberate distortion of information that followed it confirmed that forces that desperately desire to cause division and disunity in the church are at work. Even the devil knows that a house that is divided cannot stand. As Christians, we need unity in the church now more than ever. We are witnessing inhuman attacks by religious extremists against Christians in the northern part of the country, while christian infrastructure is being destroyed in hundreds. If we permit the enemy divide us, our chances of corporate survival shall be severely threatened. Distinguished leaders of the church, please permit me to state clearly before God and before all of you here present today, that I am not a party to the movement of $9.3m from Nigeria to South Africa to purchase arms and ammunition. I am not part of the deal. I know nothing about it.” he said