“It was not just possible for the National Security Adviser to have stolen $2.2 billion.”
While fielding questions from students at the prestigious Oxford Union on Monday, October 24, Jonathan argued that claims by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is exaggerated because several war weapons and jets were purchased for the military under his administration.
The former President asked in response to a question about the alleged missing arms procurement fund now referred to as #Dasukigate by the Nigerian media:
“They said the National Security Adviser, NSA [Sambo Dasuki] 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 was stolen, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”
However, Jonathan admitted that corruption was an issue during his administration, but he 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 $2.2 billion. It is not just possible.”
The ex-president also said he is relenting the case on legal processes to reveal the facts as he doesn’t intend to appear challenging the incumbent government.
On role of the media on corruption cases in Nigeria, Jonathan said despite the fact that corruption was a global problem, the perception of corruption was greater in Nigeria due to the Nigerian media’s obsession with such reports.
“I am not saying there is no corruption in Nigeria, there is corruption. There is almost no country that is free, the degree varies, the perception varies.”
Mr. Jonathan pointed out that perception of corruption in every country depends solely on media responses.
“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.”