The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to invite Patience Jonathan, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, for questioning over the $31.4m fraud hanging on her neck like the sword of Damocles.
The Executive Director of the CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullah said since the former First Lady had claimed the ownership of the money, she should be arraigned in court without delay.
According to him, “CHRICED has been following with keen interest the on-going legal battle between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and former first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, over the unexplained $31.4million traced to her company accounts.
“It is disturbing that in spite the weight of the indictment against her, the former first lady has continued to grandstand, just as she has been trying to use the judicial process to arm twist the EFCC and frustrate its on-going inquest.
“Without prejudice to the right of the indicted person to seek redress through the judiciary, we call on the EFCC not to roll over and allow corruption have a field day.
“CHRICED is not unmindful of the fact that by her court action, the former first lady is merely trying to use the judiciary to stop the EFCC from arresting and investigating her.
“By now, the EFCC must have been used to the antics of people who have the albatross of their corrupt actions hanging around their necks, yet are quick to protest any legal step taken to bring them to justice.
“It is our considered view that in the face of these clever-by-half stratagems to tie its hands, the anti-graft agency must remain resolute in bringing all perpetrators of corruption to justice.
“We insist that the EFCC must stand its ground by ensuring that all those who plundered the Nigerian treasury, no matter how highly placed, are brought to justice.
“In the case of the former first lady, it would be dangerous for the anti-graft commission to give the impression that it is scared of taking on the big names who have been indicted.
“As far as we know, the aides of the former first lady whose names were allegedly used to open the fictitious accounts in which the said $31.4 million was found, are currently being questioned by the EFCC.
“ It therefore amounts to treating the former first lady as a sacred cow to allow her to walk free, while fellow indicted persons with no name recognition have been arrested.
“CHRICED therefore calls on the EFCC to use the prima facie case established against the former first lady as a basis to call her in for questioning.
“Good enough, the fact that she has claimed ownership of the funds in question is sufficient ground for her invitation to explain the source of such a huge amount of money.
“At the end of the investigations, the former first lady should be quickly charged to court and made to face justice.
“CHRICED also believes that Nigerians who are currently enduring the biting pains of the current economic recession should be able to see that it was mostly caused by the greedy actions of people like Patience Jonathan who choose to line their pockets from the nation’s common wealth.
It is the actions of these inconsiderate few that have put the country in its current dire straits,” the statement added.