Nigeria's Jonathan warns of 'persecution' under Buhari

Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan during his party's primaries, 14 January 2011 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Goodluck Jonathan was widely praised for accepting defeat

Nigeria's outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan has warned that his ministers will be "persecuted" once his successor Muhammadu Buhari takes office.

Mr Jonathan's comments seem to suggest that he fears corruption investigations will be launched against his allies, a BBC correspondent says.

He became the first Nigerian leader to give up office, after losing elections to Gen Buhari in March.

Mr Jonathan said some of his friends had "abandoned" him after his defeat.

Gen Buhari, a former military ruler, is due to be inaugurated on 29 May.


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Mr Jonathan was widely praised for accepting defeat rather than plunging Nigeria into a crisis by challenging the election result.

But he said some of his allies were not impressed.

"If you take certain decisions, it might be good for the generality of the people but it might affect some people differently," he said at a church service held on Sunday to thank him for his leadership.

"So, for ministers and aides who served with me, I sympathise with them. They will be persecuted. And they must be ready for that persecution," Mr Jonathan added.

During the election campaign, Gen Buhari pledged to tackle corruption in Nigeria, Africa's main oil producer.

The BBC's Muhammad Kabir Muhammad in the capital, Abuja, says many people want him to live up to the promise by investigating numerous corruption scandals that hit Mr Jonathan's government.

Mr Jonathan became president in 2010 following the death of then-President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

Muhammadu Buhari in focus:

Image copyright AP
Image caption Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's new leader
  • Aged 72
  • Muslim from northern Nigeria
  • Elected president in 28 March poll
  • Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985
  • Deposed in a coup
  • Poor human rights record
  • Seen as incorruptible
  • Disciplinarian - civil servants late for work had to do frog jumps
  • Survived an apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt