The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide and other kinsmen of former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, rose in defence of allegations of corruption levelled against former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
The President of IYC, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, said it would be an aberration to ask Mrs. Jonathan to forfeit the money she earned legitimately by virtue of her position.
Eradiri insisted that the bulk of the money under investigation was given to the ex-first lady as a gift by her well-wishers and friends of her family.
He explained that Patience attracted monetary gifts from people, especially at the time she was sick and almost died.
“We knew when she was seriously sick and she went abroad for treatment.
“People were moved, especially those who loathed the idea of the country losing another First Lady.
“They sympathised with her and donated money to enable her seek the best medical treatment.
“So, it was her goodwill that attracted such money to her. That was when the bulk of the money was given to her as a gift,” he said.
Eradiri further bemoaned attacks on the former first family saying among all the former presidents that ruled the country, only the one that came from the Niger Delta region was subjected to constant harassment.
Eradiri said: “This country has produced many presidents but the only one from the Niger Delta is constantly harassed by the machineries of state, especially the EFCC.
“We want to call on the President to please respect former President Jonathan, at least for the fact that he brought peace to this country, handed over peacefully to him.
“He didn’t go to court. He allowed him to run this country. President Buhari should please focus on leadership and stop vilifying the first family.
“Patience Jonathan is not the first First Lady in this country. A wife to former deputy governor, governor, Vice-President and President, are you expecting her to be a poor woman?
“There are other First Ladies in this country.
“In recent time, a former First Lady was awarded a university license. So, we are using this medium to send a message: leave our first family alone.
“Some people are not happy about Jonathan’s rising profile and they want to destroy it.”
Also the Ogbia clan leader of IYC, Osanya B. Osanya, said the entire Ogbia youths condemned the probe of Jonathan and his immediate family.
“We call on the EFCC and the present administration to tread with caution because the Niger Delta people are losing their patience on this hunting of our leaders.
“We call for equal rights and equity”, he said.
The umbrella body of Jonathan’s kinsmen under the auspices of Ogbia Brotherhood warned the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) against further victimization of Jonathan’s family.
The President of Ogbia Brotherhood, Chief Benson Agadaga, asked the EFCC to leave Jonathan’s family alone, saying the former President and his wife deserved rest.
Agadaga said: “The former first family had been in public service as deputy governor, governor, vice-president and president for a long time. They have served the country for so long. They need rest and time for their children and family matters.