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Unlike former $9.3m case, FG yet to comment on S’Africa’s arrest of arm laden vessel

Barely one week after the South African police said they boarded a Russian-registered cargo ship, MV Lada, allegedly carrying illegal weapons and explosives en route to Lagos, Nigeria, the federal government is yet to make an official statement either denying or laying claims to the arms.

The vessel named ‘Lada’ had reportedly left Madagascar before stopping at Ngqura port outside the eastern city of Port Elizabeth, where it was detained after a security checks on Sunday.

According to local media, the authorities discovered explosives on board the vessel while conducting operations in the Port of Ngqura, which lies 20 kilometres northeast of Port Elizabeth.

Sources close to the matter described the contraband as ‘weapons of mass destruction’. The vessel is currently being detained 15 kilometres off the Nelson Mandela Bay coastline.

“We are aware that she has dangerous cargo — explosives and weapons — on board,” spokeswoman for the state-run transport company, Transnet, Olwethu Mdabula, confirmed.

Just as the Nigerian government opened talks with South Africa government after an aircraft conveying $9.3m cash from Abuja, allegedly for arms purchase, was seized by the South African authorities in September 2014, the federal government is yet to open up on what it knows on the current arrested arms ship.

Business Hilights recalls that two Nigerians and an Israeli aboard the airplane were detained and are faced investigations for transporting the huge amount into South Africa.

The jet in question, was owned by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the then President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Though pastor Oritsejafor denied knowledge of the arms deal saying the aircraft was managed by another company, Eagle Air Company, which in turn, leased the jet to a third party, Green Coast Produce Limited, federal government rallied round diplomatic intelligence to trash the matter and the case rested.