Transcript of Christiane Amanpour’s Interview of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan On CNN Tonight


Amanpour interviews Jonathan

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan agreed that Boko Haram could pose an existential threat to his country.

“If Boko Haram is not contained, it would be a threat not only to Nigeria, but to West Africa, Central Africa and of course to North Africa,” he said. “Elements of Boko Haram link up with some of al Qaeda in northern Mali and other North African countries.”

For that reason, he said his government is “totally committed” to working with friendly nations to help contain problems in Mali. Like many other world leaders, Jonathan said the problem there has been exacerbated by the free flow of weapons out of Libya since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

President Jonathan admitted that initially Boko Haram caught Nigeria off guard; now, he said, the country has been making progress to contain “the Boko Haram saga.”

He said his government is working day and night to make sure that the deadly attacks on an Algerian oil field do not happen in Nigeria.

The Economist reports that the death toll from Boko Haram attacks in 2012 was 1,099 – double was it was the previous year.

“If you look at the last six months, incidents of killing started dropping,” President Jonathan contended, insisting that the government is gaining control.

He denied suggestions from the U.S. State Department that the Nigerian government has conducted a large quantity of arrests and killings that have been indiscriminate, possibly driving more people into the hands of Boko Haram.

“The United States of America is completely wrong,” he told Amanpour. “No security agency arrests anybody just for the love of arrest. We have intelligence that enables us to arrest the people who have been arrested.”

President Jonathan also insists that poverty and unemployment are not fueling the violent rise of Boko Haram – citing religion as the primary motivation of this jihadist group.

As part of a counter terrorism effort, President Jonathan’s national security adviser has sought to engage in dialogue with Boko Haram.

Jonathan told Amanpour that the discourse has helped the situation, and that he will continue to pursue this strategy.

The Power of the Presidency

Christiane Amanpour was the first journalist to interview Goodluck Jonathan when he assumed the presidency in April 2010. One focus of that conversation was about the endemic electric outages that average Nigerians face.

Three years later, despite continued problems and a report by Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission that says 60% of Nigerians are without access to power, Jonathan said that the country has made significant strides.

“That is one area where Nigerians are quite pleased with the government – that our commitment to improve power is working,” he said. “I promise you before the end of this year, power outages will be reasonably stable in Nigeria.”

Endemic Corruption

“You cannot change the mindset of people by waving your hand. You must take means to make sure that you don’t create an environment where everyone will be corrupt and we are doing it very well,” Jonathan said.

He cited the previous elections as signs of success against corruption. International observers, The African Union, and the Independent National Electoral Commission all praised the polling.

But there is still widespread corruption in the oil industry.

Last April, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that 400,000 barrels of oil a day were looted from the country in just one month.
The International Energy Agency said that $7 billion dollars a year is lost annually to oil theft.

“Frankly speaking, speaking I want the international community to support Nigeria because this stolen crude is being bought by refineries abroad and they know the crude oil was stolen,” Jonathan told Amanpour. “The world must condemn what is wrong.”

Culled from CNN

6 thoughts on “Transcript of Christiane Amanpour’s Interview of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan On CNN Tonight”

  1. What a pity that the president residing over 160m+ people looks completely uncomfortable and clueless in answering simple questions on the largest tv in the world. I feel embarrassed being a Nigerian.
    Street of Lagos and Abuja, he said. Is that supposed to be the answer; what happens to the remaining 35 states? Is that even correct or is he referring to a Lagos different from the one we know, the one we live in? And what about corruption? should at least have given a fundamental answer given his near to non-understanding of the concept.

  2. I have said it from day one that President Goodluck Jonathan lacks aticulation in the speeches i have watched him give, in both home and abroad. The preisdent doesn’t have a good command of English even though, i understand very well that English is not our first language. We all know that it’s the word that comes out of a man’s mouth that defines a persons intellectual ability although some people are better writers than public speakers, but in Mr president’s case i really don’t know what the issue is.

  3. You have a problem if you leave the threats of Boko Haram only for the president to solve. It is an all-hands-on-deck attack affecting the whole Africa. Boko Harams are everywhere. At your work place, santuaries, congregational event centers, markets, governmental parastatals, federal buildings, virtually everywhere. Be your bothers keeper, report any suspicious character immediately. Use your intuition, we all have one. Be sensitive to your feelings, if you spot them, they would move and go to somewhere else. All you need is your self protection, ask GOD every morning to lead you, He would dectect the Boko Harams when they come near you. If you suspect anyone of any malicious acts and you are at a store, grab a baby product, then get on your cell phone. Know who is behind you at anytime, checKing out at a store, at the parking lot, at events. You would be surprised who sponsors these Boko Harams instead of doing the jobs they are appointed to do in government. No country needs a jealous leader. Every country has and is blessed with natural resources to kill a sect for what they have. Be careful whom you trust into your country, they might plant the seeds of your enemies. They take pictures of ugly things they see to elaborate on it once they leave the country. Embassies should be aware of all these and restrict visas to those that would not abuse the privilages of the country they are visiting. The world is not safe anymore. Do not underestimate anyone. Know who is communicating with your children, they might pose threats to your home. Know your visitors, guests and people you assume to be friends only to sell you off for money. You do not need them. Boko Harams are people too, they are scared of folks who take no chances. They pray on victims that are weak, so be vigilant, report any suspicious character as soon as possible and let him or her clear himself or herself with local law enforcement agency, Killing 3,000 people does not make any person great, rather, it distorts the confidence and moral of the whole country. You do not kill innocent people to cover up a past wicked act. Nor avoid paying folks their entitlements. It does nobody any good. If you reside in an area with high violence, relocate to where you feel safe. You do not relocate because an introvert wants to take over your property to cover up a fraud. Stand strong to what you believe in. Stay strong, the devil would be exposed.

  4. yes our GEJ is a bobby go slow, but this president does not deserve been abused and insulted by fellow ordinary nigerians. even to question his academic achievement. this is an idiotic, shameful position by fellow ordinary nigerians. once, an eternally popular president of the American nation, “John Kennedy” admonished his country by saying “ask not what the country can do for you, but ask what you can do for the country” that has remained one of the most important political speeches till this day.
    this guy inherited 100% corruption, 100% disunity, empty warchest, tribalistic sabotage. but look at the much he has done so far.
    he spoke to Christine amanpour, an american reincarnate, working specifically for the american. demands answers the american way, brother jonathan did the best he can, yet some uneducated, undeserving low lives abused him on a world stage. does jonathan deserve such abuses. the only thing I saw wrong in that Christine amanpour’s cnn interview, was jonathan’s poise wasn’t that of a president of a country rich as Nigeria. sure, just like when he complained of Nigeria oil been refined abroad, and sold back to us.
    Christine amanpour was lucky that I am not the president then, If I was, I would have been an idi amin reincarnate. americans, and Christine amanpour would have had 48 hours to leave nigeria./
    my only problem with jonathan is that he has the power he doesn’t even know he has

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