Former President Goodluck Jonathan says he cannot take responsibility for the kidnap of 276 students from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state, in 2014.
Jonathan had been accused of not doing enough to secure the release of the students.
But speaking in an interview with BBC, the former president said Boko Haram should be blamed for the abduction which sparked global outrage.
“I cannot take responsibility for the abduction; I don’t control Boko Haram. They are criminals,” he said.
“But as a president, of course you know it is not the president that goes to the field. You have security and intelligence officers that do the work.
“Let me admit that yes, maybe they did their best but their best was not good enough for us to recover the girls. That I cannot say I am right or I am wrong. That does not mean I am trying to remove myself from any blame.
“I may not be blamed for the action but I could be blamed that my security intelligence system was not strong enough to rescue the girls. If I as a politician could tell the whole world that my political ambition for any office is not worth the blood of a single Nigerian, how would I be happy that girls have been kidnapped? I am not that kind of character.”
The former president also accused the government of the US at the time of politicising the Chibok issue.
He wondered why Michelle Obama, first lady of the US carried a ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ placard.
“Immediately the Chibok issue came up, we expected Nigerians to be concerned about how to get these girls out,” he said.
“Within a couple of days, we saw people going to the US with ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ placards. How? Why? And of course, Mrs. Obama received one of those placards.”
Over 100 of the girls are still in captivity while many have regained freedom.