The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has condemned the actions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of Nigeria’s immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The IYC described the freezing of Mrs. Jonathan’s bank accounts as a deliberate witch-hunt by the Buhari-led federal government.
The president of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri, speaking on behalf of the group says it is unfortunate that the EFCC failed to learn from the fallout of the way it handled the case of Tompolo, a former Niger Delta militant.
He said that the EFCC’s indiscreet media trial of Tompolo is what led to the current crisis in the Niger Delta which has plunged Nigeria into a deep recession.
“I thought the EFCC by now would have begin to face squarely its jobs of fighting corruption instead of the media charade that is their usual modus operandi,” Mr. Eradiri said.
“They have not learned from the Tompolo incident instead of focusing on facts and doing their job following due process they quickly went to the media and that incident has led this country to where we are today.”
He also stated that it is “unacceptable and illegal” to place the former first family on media trial without following due process.
Dame Patience, he said like most former first ladies made her money from gifts and gratifications, adding that there was no law against such gestures.
“First ladies in Nigeria do not do any work. A woman naturally attracts a lot of gifts from men let alone a first lady who has the power to recommend you for something,” he maintained.
“They receive a lot of thank you and gratifications because most cases they recommend people who come back to thank them. Even when they do not recommend, people go and say good morning with a million dollar. It did not start with Patience Jonathan.
“We know how influential the former first lady of this country and other first ladies were. We know how powerful, rich and wealthy they are and the property they acquired as a result of gratification.
“If you say Patience Jonathan should show how she made her money, you must start with all the first ladies, otherwise, it is a witch-hunt.
“Patience Jonathan got her wealth from ‘thank you’ and there is nowhere in the law that says we should not receive ‘thank you’.
“So, EFCC should stop this nonsense. If you have issues, go and follow the due process and don’t begin to use the media to tarnish the image of the former first family,” he said.
He stressed that the Jonathans, deserved respect and that the youths would not tolerate further attacks and insults on Jonathan’s family.
He said despite the humiliation Jonathan suffered from the wife of late former President Musa Yar’Adua, he never harassed the late president’s family when he assumed the leadership of the country.
“Jonathan should be respected in Nigeria. You heard what happened during the time of late President Yar’Adua, Jonathan did not witch-hunt that family irrespective of the humiliation he suffered despite the position of the law.
“This is a witch-hunt and the EFCC must stop this attitude because very soon, people will begin to resist them. Nigerians will get to the point where they will no longer accept it.
“We support the fight against corruption. All of us know that corruption has eaten deep into our fabric, but this selective fight especially geared towards the region must not be allowed,” said.
He lamented that despite the corruption traced to the former late head of state, General Sani Abacha and his family, the government still approved a university for his wife.
“It is in this country that they talked about Abacha’s loot, yet a university had been approved for Abacha’s wife. In this same country where they said Abacha was corrupt. So, why are you treating one former first family differently and then everybody wants to humiliate Jonathan’s family in the best of their ability.
“The former First Lady, Patience, has no question to answer. The EFCC is destroying Buhari’s anti-graft policy because when your anti-graft is beginning to show it is one-sided, it will lose credibility,” he said.
The IYC boss further asked the EFCC to go return about N23 billion, $100 million and other assets it seized from the former governor of the state, late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. He wondered what the EFCC was still doing with the money when Bayelsa and other states were facing financial difficulties.
“Bayelsa State funds are in their hands, they have not returned it. Why are they keeping the funds? Are they meant to keep funds that they recovered. Why is the money not being paid into TSA if they believe they are proceeds of corruption.”