Jonathan: Dasuki Did Not Steal $2.2bn

• Insists aircraft, warships, arms bought by his administration

Chiemelie Ezeobi

Breaking his silence for the first time on the probe being undertaken by the present administration on the procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram by his government, former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that it was impossible for his former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), to have stolen $2.2 billion as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Responding to questions after his lecture on Youth Entrepreneurship at the famous Oxford Union in the United Kingdom, Jonathan, said: “They said the national security adviser stole $2.2 billion. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion.

“We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth, and you are still saying $2.2 billion (is missing), so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”

The former president did however acknowledge that there was some degree of corruption but it had been over-blown.

“Yes, there were some issues. Yes, there are still corruption issues but some of it was over-blown.

“I’d say exaggerated and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the national security adviser stole $2.2 billion. It is not just possible,” he said.

To avoid sounding confrontational, Jonathan explained that some of the corruption cases were still in court and would rather allow the legal processes to reveal the facts of the matter.

He said: “One thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court, let’s allow some of these processes to end. Lately, some judges’ (homes) were also invaded. There are so many things involved and we have to follow up these matters to conclusion before we know the facts.

“I don’t want to be seen as a former president challenging what the sitting government is doing, so I have decided to keep quiet for the court to look into these issues.”

He said allegations of corruption were not unique to his administration or the country, adding: “You will see that it has become a major topic whenever there is a change of government… I am not saying there is no corruption in Nigeria, there is corruption.

“If you look at corruption, there is almost no country that is free, but the degree varies, the perception varies.

“Transparency International talks about the way corruption is perceived in different economies, and why do we talk about the way corruption is being perceived, it’s because it depends on the issues raised in the media every day.”

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