Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that there was no political prisoner during his tenure.
He said this on Saturday, October 29, 2016, at the annual Merit Awards Dinner of the Nigerian Lawyers Association in the United States of America.
Jonathan also said no Nigerian was a prisoner of conscience because of what he or she wrote about his administration.
The former President also called on lawyers in Diaspora to protect the sanctity of democratic institutions.
GEJ said “As you all know, most of my principal aides in government hailed from different ethnic nationalities. My Administration established 12 Universities, out of which 9 were cited in the Northern part of the country and 3 in the South.
“The same spirit guided our construction of 165 Al-Majiri schools to cater for the disadvantaged children in the North. I am proud to say that while we were conscious of the Federal Character as our constitutional guiding principle, we never placed ethno-religious interest above merit or individual values.
“Accordingly, diversity could remain a strength only when all interest groups in the society feel safe and secured, in their day to day activities. That is why no matter what any critic said about me, I ensured that there was both freedom of speech and freedom after the speech. Under my watch not a single Nigerian was sent to prison because of anything he or she wrote or said about me or about the Administration that I headed.
“Nigeria had no political prisoners under my Administration and we certainly did not have any prisoners of conscience because we ourselves ensured that we acted according to our conscience in all we did. You in the diaspora can attest to the fact that Nigeria had no political exile.
“Not only did I take a stance to allow people express their opinions without let or fear, we also enacted the Freedom of Information Act and by that, we tore the veil of secrecy covering governance. Nigerians deserve to know how their government functions. I am proud to say that we gave them knowledge, and that is a genie you cannot put back to the lamp.
“We gave institutions unlimited freedom and ensured that the Nigerian Bar Association and other professional unions, fraternities and guilds were completely devoid of any governmental influence.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently said the Federal Government will not interfere if any security agency decides to probe former President Goodluck Jonathan.