3 October 2017
By Ugonnabo Ngwu
Nigeria’s former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has accused the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu of relentlessly waging an “unjustified witch-hunt” against her family.
While urging President Muhammadu Buhari to call Magu to order, she pointed out that the vindictive disposition of the EFCC boss towards former President Goodluck Jonathan is portraying the anti-graft agency as an organisation on a revenge mission.
In an open petition to President Buhari signed by her media aide, Belema Meshack-Hart, on Monday, the former First Lady stated that Magu has “ceaselessly desecrated” the image of the Buhari Presidency “through his malicious actions”.
Aside accusing Magu of bias and intimidation, she stated that the EFCC acting chairman had been “spreading barefaced falsehood and propaganda” against her in the name of investigations, adding that no other first lady had faced such fate of brazen intimidation in the history of the country.
In recent times, the EFCC had frozen Jonathan’s $15.5 million domiciled in Skye Bank Plc. Also, the former First Lady is in court against the anti-graft agency over the temporary forfeiture of her $5.8 million.
Mrs. Jonathan’s petition reads: “We wish to bring to the attention of Nigerians, the unjustified witch-hunt and media propaganda against the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and her family, by the agents of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and his media hirelings.
“For almost three years, this agency of government has beamed its searchlight on her and her family members, including siblings and parents, as well as her Foundation and Non-Governmental Organisation; A. Aruera Reach Out Foundation, and Women for Change and Development Initiative, in the name of investigating their activities. However, we have since discovered that the real intention is to disgrace, intimidate, dehumanise and ridicule her and her family, through sheer cheap propaganda, sensational investigation and media trial that have been going on for too long.
“We wish to place it on record that in the history of this country, no wife of any president had been so far investigated in such flagrant vindictive and disgraceful manner, as has been the fate of Mrs. Jonathan.
“As a tradition, every first lady in this country has had one pet project or the other, with which they sought to intervene in the lives of the less privileged. Mrs. Jonathan started her NGO in Bayelsa State 11 years ago, when her husband was the governor of the state. With it, she has, over the years, touched the lives of many Nigerians. It is then surprising that while other first ladies and their pet projects were left alone, it is only her activities and that of her NGOs that are being subjected to indefinite probe by the Buhari administration.”
Patience accused EFCC of adopting the method of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it by “maliciously linking her to all kinds of fake possessions and properties around the country, including the Local Content Office in Yenagoa, which she said is an arm of NNPC, Shoprite Complex, Nigerian Customs Guest House and Park View Hotel, both in Port Harcourt, as well as the residence of her neighbor who is a serving Senator.
“It has now come to a point where all the magnificent edifices in Abuja, Yenagoa or Port Harcourt are presented to the media as belonging to Mrs. Patience Jonathan. Not done, they also accuse her of owning several plots of land in many cities across the country, including places she had never visited. The most astonishing of all is that her close relatives are viciously being victimised, as their personal properties are also being investigated.
“It is either the EFCC is now led by people, who cannot conduct proper investigations, or they are deliberately feeding the public with false information, in line with their sinister script to embarrass and browbeat the former first family.
“We wish to remind President Muhammadu Buhari that what Magu and other agents of his government are doing is tantamount to desecrating the hallowed and dignified office of the president, and exposing it to public ridicule before the rest of the world,” she said.