Former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied claims by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration that he handed over a virtually empty treasury.
He made this known in an interview with Bloomberg Television, London, on Monday,saying that Nigeria’s economy has been contracting since middle of 2014 when the price of Brent Crude was reduced by almost half.
“It is not true; there is no way that he would have inherited an empty treasury and at the same time give bailout to the states. It’s not possible,” Jonathan said.
Crude exports accounted in 2014 for as much as two-thirds of government revenue, with most state budgets relying on monthly handouts from the federal administration.
Authorities in Nigeria have started investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials and have recovered millions of dollars in cash so far. Also the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have slammed criminal charges on top officials of Jonathan’s government such as Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser and Olisa Metuh, Publicity Secretary of the Poeples Democratic Party, PDP.
On whether he was being investigated for corruption, Jonathan said, “I will be investigated and I am being investigated. Yes! Investigations are going on but I would not want to make certain comments. When a government is working it is not proper to make certain comments. I will allow the government to work. It is not a good practice.”
The former president also expressed confidence that the government will be able to come to an agreement with the Niger Delta militants in order to stop the attacks on oil and gas installations that have slashed production.
“Definitely, it will be resolved; yes, government can always overrun restive movements and so on, but the Niger Delta is too delicate. The level of damage will be too much for the government to bear. We used dialogue,” he said.
Jonathan was vice-president when the government offered an amnesty and monthly stipends to militants to end years of instability and violence.
But in February, Jonathan’s successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, reduced the stipends and cancelled security contracts with former military leaders, leading to escalation of violence in the Niger Delta region and resurgence in the destruction of oil infrastructure.