Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, on Monday disclosed that during his time in power “we did not know anything like corruption”.
He made the disclosure while lamenting reports describing former head of states as “thieves”.
Speaking at the meeting of the 8th Commonwealth regional conference for heads of anti-corruption agencies in Africa, Gowon said his staff members had to contribute their estacode when he left office “so that I have something to live on”.
The former military ruler stated that although some of his then ministers were accused of corruption, his government worked to curb it so that the scourge did not get into the public service.
He said, “During our time, we did not know anything like corruption. Though, some of my ministers were accused of corruption but we did not allow it go into the public service.
“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.
“It is sad to read reports that all former heads of state are thieves.
“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.”