Dame Patience Jonathan, Wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday turned to the House of Representatives for protection against alleged harassment by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The former President’s wife laid a petition before the House in Abuja, complaining that her fundamental human rights were infringed upon by the anti-graft agency.
A Peoples Democratic Party member of the House from Delta State, Mr. Lovette Idisi, had submitted the petition on behalf of Jonathan’s wife.
However, he told members that the document was signed by youth groups from six ethnic groups in the country.
The youth groups were the Ijaw Youth Council; Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council; Ndokwa Youth Council; Arewa Consultative Forum; Yoruba Youth Council; and the Middle Belt Youth Council.
Idisi, while conveying the complaints of Mrs. Jonathan to the House, said under the Nigerian constitution, mere allegations did not amount to guilt until a proper conviction by a competent court of law.
He added, “This petition is in line with Section 36 where every citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Speaker, the constant harassment of the former first lady is in a petition emanating from her that was sent to my office.
“With the leave of the House, I seek your permission to lay the petition before the House.”
The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, referred the petition to the House Committee on Public Petitions for hearing.
It is expected that the former President’ wife will come to the National Assembly when invited, to defend the petition.
The key issue raised by the groups on behalf of Jonathan was that the EFCC had frozen her accounts and those of some of her close associates on account of corruption allegations.
They noted that some of the affected individuals were not under investigation by the anti-graft agency, but the agency still froze their accounts.
Part of the document read, “A simple cost benefit analysis of the EFCC’s current approach would reveal that it is harming this government’s strategic interest far more than the brief publicity it gets from its current modus operandi…
“We are urging you to caution and rein in the EFCC to operate within the confines of its enabling laws, lest it becomes victim of the corrupting influence of absolute power.
Mrs. Jonathan and the EFCC have had a running battle of late over the $31m in some companies’ accounts frozen by the EFCC.
Jonathan is already in court over the matter.
Source: The Punch