FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, October 24, said it was impossible for Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel and former national security adviser, NSA, during his administration, to have stolen $2.2 billion as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Jonathan, who spoke at the famous Oxford Union, Oxford United Kingdom, on youth entrepreneurship, argued that it was “not just possible” for Dasuki to have stolen $2.2 billion because his administration spent so much to procure several equipment for the Nigeria’s military.
Responding to a question on alleged missing arms procurement funds in which Dasuki has been in the centre, Jonathan said: “They said the national security adviser stole $2.2billion. 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, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”
Although he would not deny issues of corruption during his administration, the former president said some of the allegations were exaggerated. He said: “Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues; but some of them were blown, I’d say exaggerated, and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the national security adviser stole $2.2billion. It is not just possible.”
Jonathan, however, said that as some of the corruption cases were still in court, he would rather allow the legal processes to reveal the facts of the matter and that he did not want to appear as challenging the incumbent government.
“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 them,” he said.
Besides, he said allegations of corruption were not peculiar to his administration, pointing out that some governments had been overthrown in the past based on allegations of corruption, only for the new administration itself to be pushed out by another junta touting the anti-corruption mantra.
The former president further argued that corruption was a global problem, but said the perception of corruption was greater in Nigeria due to the Nigerian media’s obsession with reporting on corruption.
“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, the degree varies, the perception varies.
“Transparency International talks about the way corruption is being perceived in different economies, why do we talk about the way corruption is being perceived, it depends on the issue raised in the media every day.”
Dasuki, who has been in detention since December 1, 2015, was arrested by the State Security Service, SSS, for allegedly misappropriating $2.2 billion meant to purchase equipment for the Nigerian military in its battle against the terrorist Boko Haram group.
On Friday, October 21, a high court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, granted an application by the EFCC to consolidate two separate cases against him.
A statement by the anti-graft commission said Dasuki would be re-arraigned on November 16.
— Oct 25, 2016 @ 14:20 GMT