May 26, 2007

Nigeria: '$2.27m Found on Capt. Ojedokun Approved'

This Day (Lagos)

24 May 2007
Posted to the web 24 May 2007

Juliana Taiwo

Nigerian Miltary may have approved the $2.27 million found on the Nigerian Defence Attaché to India, Navy Captain G. A. Ojedokun, for which he was arrested by Indian security agencies, a senior officer in the Military who would not want his name in print yesterday clarified that the money was duly approved by the Ministry of Defence for certain projects earmarked for the Nigerian High Commission in India.

He said the money was part of an approval released for the project after the endorsement of the Defence Ministry, pointing out that the project was initially meant to be undertaken by the former Defence Adviser, also a Navy Captain, who is currently attending the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, in Kuru near Jos, Plateau State.

"Following the appointment of the new Defence Adviser, the cost of the project was reviewed downwards. From our discussions with the Ojedokun and investigations, we discovered that the officer was trying to return the money which is the balance of the original sum that was approved to the country."

The senior officer explained that problems arose when he failed to declare that he had such an amount of money on him, which is normal international practice.

Explaining that the arrested Captain has since been released and has resumed duties at the Nigerian mission in India, the senior officer said the incident was blown out of proportion simply because it involved a diplomat.

When contacted for comments on the development, a senior official of the ministry who pleaded anonymity said "the Defence headquarters has set up a board of enquiry to further investigate the incident and unravel the circumstances surrounding it.

It would be recalled that the Indian Airport Authorities on the allegation that he was trying to smuggle out the $2.27million arrested Ojedokun an attache to the Nigerian High Commission in India.

He was said to have been stopped while about to board an Ethiopian airline flight bound for Lagos on Monday night, when the scanner revealed he had stacks of cash in his bag.

Indian authorities were said to be investigating whether there is a connection between Ojedokun and a drug syndicate in Nigeria, because he failed to mention if the money was linked to the Nigerian mission.

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