Ijaw youths, yesterday, accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of deliberately executing a planned witch-hunt against ex- President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience.
They said it was “unacceptable, immoral and illegal” to place the former first family on media trial without following due process.
Angry youths, under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, said it was unfortunate EFCC failed to see that its indiscreet media trial of ex-militant leader Government Ekpuompolo led to the crisis in the Niger Delta.
Speaking in Yenagoa, IYC President Mr. Udens Eradiri said Jonathan’s wife like most ex-first ladies, made her money from gifts, insisting that there is no law against such gestures.
He said: “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 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 due process and don’t begin to use the media to tarnish the image of the former first family”.
He said youths would not tolerate further attacks and insults on Jonathan’s family, adding that the former President deserved respect.
According to him, despite the humiliation Jonathan suffered from wife of the late ex-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 the 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 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. We know corruption has eaten deep into our fabric but this selective fight, especially geared towards the region, must not be allowed”, Eradiri said.
He said despite the corruption traced to the late ex-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 are you treating one former first family differently and then everybody 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 asked the EFCC to to return about N23 billion, $100 million and other assets it seized from ex-Governor of the state, the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
He wondered what the EFCC is doing with the money when Bayelsa and other states face 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 if they believe they are proceeds of corruption? They should return our money. Those are 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.