by Ben Ezeamalu,
The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has criticised former President Goodluck Jonathan for rising to the defence of his embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
In a statement on Thursday, the party said Mr. Jonathan’s claims had proved beyond doubts that he knew everything about the arms purchase scandal as well as other corruption cases that happened in his regime.
“Even as we concede that Jonathan is on a desperate bid to rehabilitate himself, we wouldn’t believe that a former president should be so contemptuous of the intelligence of Nigerians as to give the kind of defence he gave to Sambo Dasuki,” the Lagos APC said in a statement by Joe Igbokwe, its publicity secretary.
“We wonder what Jonathan makes of the horrid details that are emanating from the Dasukigate issue with shocking evidences, confessions and even refunds made by those that participated in that monumental corruption.”
While addressing a gathering on youth entrepreneurship at the Oxford Union, in the United Kingdom, Mr. Jonathan said it was impossible for Mr. Dasuki, a retired army colonel, to have stolen $2.2 billion as claimed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“They said the National Security Adviser stole $2.2 billion,” Mr. Jonathan said while responding to a question about the alleged missing arms procurement fund now referred to as Dasukigate by the Nigerian media.
“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?”
The APC said there should be a limit to defending “such hefty corruption acts”, which greatly compromised the nation’s security and led to the loss of thousands of precious Nigerian lives.
The party also cautioned Mr. Jonathan not to continue to play on the intelligence of Nigerians who, they said, is still smarting from the horrendous cases of corruption that were perpetrated under him.
“To claim that Dasuki and his partners did not steal the arms purchase fund reveals the inner beliefs of Jonathan and explains that he is intrinsically webbed to corruption,” Mr. Igbokwe said.
“Even while he is perceived as pathologically corrupt and his regime seen as the most corrupt in Nigeria’s chequered history, one would have expected Jonathan to be cautious in seeking to advance very childish and inadmissible exculpation of his subordinates for glaring acts of corruption.
“We had expected that jJonathan would have striven to water down the lowly impression held of him by Nigerians and the international community by not deciding to be so patronising to clear cases of corruption by his subordinates. But with each day, Jonathan continues to baffle by his chameleonic acts.
“By Jonathan’s cheap defence of Sambo Dasuki, we believe time has come for the security agencies to pick up Jonathan to tell the nation all that he knows of the many cases of corruption that happened under him.”
The party said it believed the former president knows more than he admits about the “unseemly corruption” that he presided over and should be brought in for questioning.
“We don’t believe any thing shields Jonathan from prosecution for corruption as we believe it is becoming indefensible for Jonathan to pretend he was innocent of the corrupt acts of his subordinates,” Mr. Igbokwe continued.
“While we condemn Jonathan’s cheeky defence of Dasuki, even in the face of monumental damning evidences, we want to state that the anti corruption war is incomplete until Jonathan is prosecuted for he continually proves, by such defence of his corrupt subordinates, that he knew everything that transpired in his corruption-ridden regime.”