Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday defended his decision to remain silent in the face of allegations that his administration, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, misappropriated over $2.1 billion meant to purchase arms and munitions for the Nigerian military to wage war against Boko Haram.
The former NSA under the Jonathan administration, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) and some top politicians in the country are currently undergoing trial in connection with the alleged arms deal scandal.
The former NSA, whose office was in charge of the funds for purchasing the arms and munitions, claimed he disbursed the money allegedly on the instructions of Mr. Jonathan.
At a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Mr. Jonathan said he would not like to comment on the arms probe matter now because his comment could jeopardize the ongoing judicial proceeding that had been initiated by the current administration.
“I would not like to comment now because the matter is in court. I cannot comment. Definitely, I will speak. My Comment now may affect witnesses and the judicial process.
“When I was President, I tried to build institutions like the Judiciary and separation of power and the electoral bodies. I should not be the one undermining the process”, the ex-president said.
Jonathan also responded to mind-boggling revelations of corruption and theft allegedly by some members of his administration, saying the figures being bandied around by the All Progressives Congress-led federal government and some public commentators are “so huge”, one would think he was Nigeria’s president since Independence.
“I have an idea about some of the corruption cases you are talking about”, he said. “The amount being mentioned in some cases are so huge, sometimes people think I was Nigeria’s President since independence. Sometimes, people just bandy figures. I remember somebody said we lost $49 billion in 18 months.
“The same man who made the allegation reduced the figure to 12 billion. I got forensic experts to probe the books of NNPC to ascertain the veracity of the allegation. I even remember asking the German Chancellor who said if that amount of money was missing in her country, it would be a big issue”.
“The truth of the matter is that if we lose such amount of money within 18 months as the allegation said, the country will collapse”, Jonathan added.