$2.1bn arms deal: Jonathan breaks silence

$2.1bn arms deal: Jonathan breaks silence

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has finally broken his silence over the controversy surrounding the $2.1 billion arms deal, which occurred while he was in office, taking offence to comments made by a legal luminary, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) that he should confess his involvement in the scandal before he is arrested.

This is coming on the heels of moves by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arraign a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ex-Minister of Defence, and Acting PDP BoT Chairman, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed, before a Federal High Court in Abuja over the same scandal.

However, reacting through a statement issued by Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, his former Minister of National Planning, Jonathan faulted Sagay over the statement, saying that as a respected learned scholar, he should know that one does not hang a suspect on the pages of newspaper or via social media until he or she is found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. “One should expect the respected learned scholar to know that you don’t hang a suspect on the pages of newspaper or via social media until he or she is found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction,” the statement signed by Dr. Sulaiman quoted the former president as saying.

Sagay, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, had advised Jonathan to secretly confess all he knows about the arms deal, to which his name has been linked by the man who replaced him at Aso Rock, President Muhammadu Buhari.

Sagay, however, acknowledged that the case of the former president being arrested relating to the arms scandal is a “sensitive one”, adding that his concession of defeat to Buhari during the March 28 presidential election does not make Jonathan a hero, as one good action cannot correct several evil deeds.

But Jonathan said the statement credited to Sagay on December 23, 2015 that tended to vilify him on the ongoing arms scam is not only unfortunate but unprofessional. “Accordingly, even where the learned jurist feels passionate about such a sensitive but sensational issue, he should know the right route to the villa rather than taking such prejudicial position. “It is high time our legal luminaries confined themselves to the noble ethics of their profession than toeing the path of some mischief politicians.

“And we pray that when the report of his Committee finally comes out, it will reflect and incorporate the noble principles of rule of law, fair hearing and impartiality so as to meet the irreducible minimum standard expected in matters of this nature. We also pray that it may not end up dashing, rather than raising the hopes of average Nigerian in the vintage APC fashion, as with most things these days,” Jonathan said in the statement signed by Dr Sulaiman.

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