Former Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan has on Thursday, November 19, denied allegations that his administration awarded contract for arms procurement to the tune of $2 billion.
Speaking in Washington DC, on “Presidential elections and democratic consolidation in Africa: Case studies on Nigeria and Tanzania,” a conversational forum, co-hosted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jonathan stated categorically that “I did not award any $2 billion contract for procurement of weapons.”
He queried, “Where did the money come from? “I did not award a contract of $2billion for procurement of weapons,” reports Premium Times.
It would be recalled, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the arrest of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) for alleged stealing of more than $2 billion meant to purchase weapons for the military to fight Boko Haram terrorists.
The statement faulted Dasuki, a key adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, of awarding “phantom contracts” to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets, and bombs and ammunition worth $2 billion that never were supplied.
However, Mr. Jonathan disclosed that he never awarded any $2billion arms contract, suggesting that the claims by the Buhari administration were false and unsubstantiated, a statement Mr. Dasuki had also argued.
Mr. Jonathan claimed that some of the figures mentioned are not believable.
“Sometimes, I feel sad when people mention these figures,” he added.
According to Vanguard, while speaking about his successor, Jonathan said,
“When the President (Buhari) paid official visit to the US, there were some figures that were mentioned that I don’t believe.”
He drew attention to figures like the $150billion alleged to have been stolen in previous Nigerian administrations, but Mr. Jonathan scoffed at the probability of “$150 billion American money” being missing and “Americans will not know where it is,” adding that at any rate President Buhari did not accuse his administration.
“He didn’t say my government, he said previous administrations… “$150 billion is not 150 billion Naira,” he stated, suggesting that “People play politics with very serious issues.”
“In Nigeria, if you lose $59.8 million in a year, federal and state governments will not pay salaries,” he said, adding that there is no way Nigerian budget can accommodate such a loss without the country coming to a standstill.