Yakubu Gowon, former head of state, says during his time in power, ” we did not know anything like corruption”.
Gowon said this on Monday while speaking at the meeting of the 8th Commonwealth regional conference for heads of anti-corruption agencies in Africa.
The meeting which has as its focal point assets recovery and return, is ongoing in Abuja.
The former head of state said though some of his ministers then were accused of corruption, his government worked to curb it so it did not go into the public service.
“During our time, we did not know anything like corruption. Some of my ministers were accused of corruption but we did not allow it go into the public service,” he said.
“After I left office, apart from my salary, it was the staff that worked with me that contributed their estacode so that i have something to live on. During our time, we did not know that thing. We were afraid of being exposed.”
Gowon said it is sad to see reports or articles that portray all former heads of states as “thieves.”
“It is sad to read reports that all former heads of state are thieves,” he said.
“I will like to ask you (heads of anti-corruption agencies) to find a way of making those in leadership not to be tempted – let them be honest.”
The former head of state hoped that whatever recovered asset is brought back to the country would be good be used for the good of Nigerians.