Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan will not be appearing as a defence witness in the trial of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
Our correspondents gathered in Abuja on Friday that the former President had not indicated any interest in making an appearance in the ongoing trial of any of his former aides.
The ex-President has so far not been named as a party in the case against Dasuki.
Sources familiar with the case argued that the former President is neither an accused person nor a witness, and as such, he is not expected to appear or send a legal representative.
A close Jonathan’s associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, asked, “Why should he appear? He (Jonathan) is not a party to the suit and we are aware that a few persons are desperate to humiliate our former President by dragging him into all this.
“Their aim is to create tension and destabilise us. We will not give enemies of Nigeria the pleasure of destroying our nation.”
Attempts to get the reaction of Jonathan’s media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, were unsuccessful. Calls to his mobile telephone indicated that it was switched off. Responses to a text message and an e-mail sent to him were still being expected as of the time of filing this report.
In the same vein, an Ijaw leader and National Chairman, Ogbia Brotherhood, the apex umbrella body of the kinsmen of the former President, Chief Benson Agadaga, described any request made to Jonathan to testify in court as “unthinkable and insulting.”
Regarding the alleged $2.1bn arms scandal, Agadaga said approval was given and the money was disbursed, noting that if the disbursement did not follow due process, the records were there to show who did what.
He said, “The security agencies should have investigated everything, they know what is there. To ask him (Jonathan) to go and testify is an insult. How many other former Presidents have testified in the court? We have yet to see that.
“The approval was given for the money to be disbursed and it was disbursed the way it was wanted. But if the money was disbursed other than what was approved, the records are there to show. I am sure all these things have been documented. The documents should speak for themselves.
“Asking him to go to court to testify is an insult. They are demoralising him. Have they asked former President Shehu Shagari to go to court? Has former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, gone to court any day? Have former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and others gone to court?
“If you want to fight corruption, should it be with Jonathan alone? Is Jonathan the originator of corruption in Nigeria? Corruption has been in Nigeria before now. And if people are to be probed, like what happened in Ghana, all the former Heads of State should be probed. If they want to probe corruption, it should start from Shagari’s time. Nobody is an angel.”
Agadaga , therefore, asked Buhari to focus on the economy, stressing that the hardship in the country was becoming too much.
He added, “I think the Federal Government should focus on how to alleviate the hardship in the country for things to be better for all than to ask Jonathan to go to court.
“If you are fighting corruption, make it universal. If it is universal and you are dealing with Mr. B according to how you are dealing with Mr. A, nobody will complain. But this is very clear. Even a small child knows that it is the opponents of this government that are being persecuted. How many members of the All Progressives Congress have been arraigned anywhere? Are they not corrupt? By now, one would have seen that he has disciplined one or two APC members in his cabinet or present governors of the APC. I do not see any of them being investigated. It is very clear that it is a one-sided approach.”
The Ijaw Youth Council said that the former President need not testify for anybody.
The IYC spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption appeared to be an instrument of victimisation against perceived political opponents.
“All these calls and talks about the former President are aimed at humiliating him (Jonathan),” he said.