Former President Goodluck Jonathan has come to the defence of his then adviser, saying it was impossible for the National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, to have stolen $2.2 billion as claimed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Dasuki, has been in detention since December 1, 2015, was arrested by the DSS for allegedly misappropriating $2.2 billion meant to purchase equipment for the Nigerian military in its battle against the terrorist Boko Haram group. A statement by the anti-graft commission said the former adviser would be re-arraigned on November 16.
Speaking at the famous Oxford Union, in the UK, on youth entrepreneurship, the former president argued that it was “not just possible” for Mr. Dasuki to have stolen $2.2 billion after his administration procured several equipment for the country’s military.
“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?” he asked while responding to a question about the alleged missing arms procurement fund now popularly christened, Dasukigate.
While admitting that corruption was an issue during his administration, the former president said some of the allegations were “exaggerated”.
“Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues; but some of it 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,” 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 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,” he said. adding that corruption allegations were not unique to his administration.
“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,” he said.