Tension in Niger Delta as Jonathan ‘escapes’

By Amako Nneji May 23, 2016 09:35

Tension in Niger Delta as Jonathan ‘escapes’

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has allegedly gone into temporary self exile in Cote d’Ivoire, following reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission , EFCC, may interrogate him, THISDAY has confirmed. ‎

Jonathan’s government had been accused of massive corruption and misappropriation of billions of dollars in the five years, during which he was President.

Several sources close to the ex-president, confirmed that Jonathan had sought refuge last week in the West African country.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari, seemed to renege on his promise that his predecessor had ‘nothing to fear’ from him (Buhari), after he handed over the reins of power on May 29, 2015.

Post-Nigeria had reported that since Jonathan’s departure, anti-corruption agencies led by the EFCC, have swept in on several associates of the former president, on allegations of money laundering, diversion of public funds and contract scams, mostly linked to the purchase of arms used for the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram.

In recent weeks, the EFCC has in addition to arresting and prosecuting several public office holders who served under the Jonathan administration, arrested some of the closest allies of the former president, including his cousin, Aziobola Robert, in connection to a $40 million pipeline surveillance contract, and his former principal secretary and confidant, Hassan Tukur.

These arrests were said to have shaken the former president, given that they were the two persons closest to him during his presidency.

A source, who spoke to THISDAY on Jonathan’s decision not to come back to Nigeria, said the former president was reliably warned by security sources of the plan to arrest him once he stepped into the country, hence his decision to seek exile in Cote d’Ivoire.

Jonathan, the source disclosed, departed Nigeria for the United States of America, USA, almost two months ago, travelling to several cities, but stayed in New York for some two weeks.

After departing the US, he traveled to London to be with his children for a few days, preparatory to his return to Nigeria. However, while in the UK, he was warned by sympathetic officials in different arms of government of the government’s decision to arrest him once he returned to Nigeria.

On getting wind of the plan, it was gathered, that Jonathan contacted a few West African leaders, including the President of Cote d’Iviore, Alassane Outtara, who offered him a safe haven until the coast is clear for him to return to Nigeria.

Sources close to the president said since the information of the government’s resolve to arrest Jonathan swept through the Niger Delta, Ijaw militants have gone berserk and stepped up their attacks on oil and gas installations in the region.

They are said to be hell bent on shutting down oil output completely.