By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
From the United Kingdom, former President Goodluck Jonathan weighed in on the $2.1 billion arms allegations against his former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and cleared him of any wrongdoing.
The former president, who spoke at the famous Oxford Union, in Oxford, the United Kingdom (UK), on Monday, insisted Dasuki, did not steal money his administration voted for the purchase of arms for the military to fight insurgency in the North East.
Jonathan said this in response to a question on alleged misappropriation of arms funds by his government
“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 you are still saying $2.2 billion (was stolen)? So, where did we get the money to buy all those things?”
The former president said although issues of corruption persists with each government, he insisted that of his government was blown out of proportion. He added that since some people accused of being corrupt were already in court, it was best to allow the law adjudicate on the matter.
“Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues but, some of it were over blown; I would say exaggerated and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the ex-NSA stole $2.2billion. It is not just possible. One thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court. Let us 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 a conclusion before we know the fact. 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. 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; 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 for months, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for corruption and money laundering. On December 1, 2015, the Department of State Security (DSS) arrested Dasuki on allegations of breach of public trust and laundering $2.1 billion cash meant to procure arms for the military fighting insurgency in the North East.
A former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and Chairman Emeritus of Daar Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, ex-Aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, among many others, have been questioned by the security agents for allegedly receiving huge sums of money from Dasuki.