Wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, has appealed to the House of Representatives to protect her from harassment from the nation’s security agencies.
Mrs. Jonathan said she escaped two assassination attempts this year.
The former first lady’s accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Police and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of harassing her.
According to the petition, “There have been assassination attempts, at least twice, between February and April, 2017 against our client ostensibly by the operatives of the EFCC along the Yenogoa-Mbiama road, Bayelsa State in furtherance of its unlawful actions against the (former) first family.
“Only recently, on the 8th and 9th June, 2017, the EFCC have commenced another fresh orchestration of raids on the personal properties of the NGOs of our client situated at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Expressway, Mbashi by Setraco junction, Abuja, FCT and ransacked the building, placing seals round it, all without any lawful court order or summons.
“This recent actions have agitated the urgent need for this petition to your office. The harassment against our client has persisted unabated.”
The appeal was contained in a petition addressed to Speaker Yakubu Dogara and presented to the House yesterday by Hon. Gogo Bright (PDP, Rivers).
The petition, dated June 9, and titled “Petition on the persistent, consistent and unwarranted personal attacks and harassment of Dame (Mrs.) Patience Ibifam Jonathan,” was signed by G.I. Abibo (SAN) of Granvillee Abibo and Co.
It read in part: “We, therefore, hereby complain to you formally against the agencies of the Federal Government, in particular, Mr. Ibrahim Magu of the EFCC; the NDLEA, amongst others, who have persistently, consistently and relentlessly unleashed an unwarranted campaign of incessant personal harassment and attacks on the person of our client, all in a bid to bring the former first lady into public ridicule, odium and dent of their hard earned reputation for no just cause.
“We posit that time and space will not be sufficient to restate the various acts of harassment of our client, who is singled out amongst all former first ladies in Nigeria for the unbridled treatment, and some of which are restated hereunder.
“The EFCC has orchestrated an endless pattern of freezing all accounts belonging to our client in every bank with spurious court orders including all or any accounts belonging to her relations; friends, associates or her non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are charitable organisations or entities.
“Of all the former first ladies of this country, only the NGOs of our client, ARM Foundation or World Peace Outreach groups have been singled out for emasculation by the EFCC with repetitive raids on the offices of these NGOs and unwarranted freezing of their accounts even without any lawful court orders. It needs to be emphasised that these NGOs are the pet projects of our client, conceived, planted and nurtured by her with the goodwill and contributions of well-meaning persons in Nigeria and beyond….
“In February 2017, the EFCC made a spurious report against our client to the UK authorities and other international bodies; all in a grand design to forestall her renewal of her international visa and other travelling documents. The allegations sprouted out against our client by the EFCC, were duly investigated by the UK authorities and other international bodies who found the reports baseless and thereupon issued the international visa and other travel documents to our clients.”
While presenting the report, Hon. Bright pleaded that in view of the sacrifices Mrs. Jonathan’s husband made for the country while he was president, the House should wade into the matter and call the security agencies to order.
The lawmaker noted that no former first lady has been persecuted like Mrs. Jonathan since her husband left office. “No former first lady has been harassed like this before.
“But for the sacrifices that her husband has made for the country, the House should consider and call the security agencies to order,” Bright said.
The petition comes a day after an ad hoc committee of the House resolved to invite Jonathan to explain his role in the contentious Malabu oil deal.
It will be recalled that the House, on December 7, 2016, received a similar petition from the former first lady.