Ijaw youths, drawn from the Nine States of the Niger Delta region, on Thursday faulted as ‘witch-hunt” and “deliberate plot “against the former first family of the ongoing decision by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, over alleged money laundering and illegal possession of unexplained funds.
According to the Ijaw Youths, though the EFCC has a right to investigate allegations and secure proof before dragging the culprit before the competent court of law, the deliberate media trial of the Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan of deliberately executing a planned witch-hunt against former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience is a confirmation that she has no case to answer but subjected to ridicule under a plot conceived to disgrace anyone close to Former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Ijaw Youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide and led by its President, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, told newsmen in Yenagoa, that the action of the EFCC is “unacceptable, immoral and illegal. It was unfortunate that the EFCC could not learn from the fallout of the way it handled the case of former ex-militant leader, Government Ekpuompolo, alias Tomoplo.”
“The EFCC’s indiscreet media trial of Tompolo led to the crisis in the Niger Delta that plunged the country into the current economic mess. Jonathan’s wife like most former First Ladies made her money from gifts and gratifications insisting 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”.
“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 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. jaw youths would not tolerate further attacks and insults on Jonathan’s family adding that the former President deserved respect. Despite the humiliation Jonathan suffered from the wife of late former President Musa Yar’Adua, he never harassed the late President’s family.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,” Eradiri said.
He lamented that despite the corruption traced to the former late Head of State, Gen. 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 you treating one former first family differently and then everybody are 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 to return about N23bn, $100million 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 of they believe they are proceeds of corruption. They should return our money. Those are the issues they should focus on”, he said.
He added: “I thought that the EFCC by now will begin to face squarely its job of ensuring that criminals are brought to book and not the media charade that is usually its modus operandi. They have not learnt from the Tompolo incident. Instead of focusing on facts and doing their jobs via due process, they quickly went to the media and that incident led this country to where we are today”.