Former President Goodluck Jonathan claimed, while responding to a question at Oxford University, that the National Security Adviser under his administration, Sambo Dasuki, did not “steal” $2.2bn. Dasuki is being tried for allegedly diverting that amount, which was meant for defence procurement, for other purposes.
Jonathan argued: “They said the national security adviser 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 (is missing), so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”
Jonathan’s intervention in a matter that is before the courts is highly inappropriate, especially for a person of his standing as a former president. His comments run a substantial risk of serious prejudice to proceedings and could possibly amount to contempt of court. It is for the courts to decide what happened to the money and not Jonathan.
Secondly, the allegations against Dasuki were not that he “stole” the money, but that the funds were diverted for purposes that were not budgeted for – such as Jonathan’s re-election campaign.
President Muhammadu Buhari has also been known to comment in public on cases in the courts. This behaviour from both men demonstrates their disregard for the rule of law.