Jonathan on $2.1b arms deal: Don’t hang me before trial

A legal luminary, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has come under heavy knocks by former President Good­luck Jonathan over a statement that Jonathan should confess his involvement in the deal $2.1 billion arms deal before he is arrested.
Jonathan faulted Sagay over the statement, saying that as a respected learned scholar, he should 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 former President in a statement issued by Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, his former Minister of National Planning, stated: “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.”
Sagay, who is also the Chair­man of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, had ad­vised Jonathan to secretly confess all he knowa about the scandalous $2.1 billion arms deal, to which his name has been linked by President Muham­madu Buhari.
He stated during the week that if Jonathan goes by the advice, he may be accorded the respect due to him by virtue of being a former president.
Sagay, however pointed out 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 could not correct several evil deeds.
Jonathan said the statement credited to Sagay on December 23, 2015 that tended to vilify former him on the ongoing arms scam is not only unfortunate but unprofessional.
He said in the statement by Sulaiman: “Accordingly, even where the learned jurist feels passionate of 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.”

The Sun.