As the former Nigerian first lady's multi-million dollar saga continues, the Chairperson of Ijaw Mothers Union, has told Nigerians that Patience Jonathan has the right to own such amount of money.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, the Chairperson of Ijaw Mothers Union (IMU), Doris McDaniels, has spoken out on the recent outburst over reports that former First lady, Patience Jonathan, claimed ownership of a $31.4 million found in the account of a company currently under investigations for fraud.
McDaniels stated that the former first lady can own any amount of money as she was the wife of a deputy governor, governor, Vice President and then a President.
She said; “I will commend Mrs Patience Jonathan because if this is the allegation against her, then it is funny. So you mean the wife of a former deputy governor, governor, Vice President, Acting President and President cannot own this kind of money, yet wife of President Muhammadu Buhari that is less than two years in office can travel with the kind of bag as alleged recently? Then this is a funny country.
"If high-profile government officials,can own properties in Dubai, yet we say wife of a former President can’t own this money, then Nigeria is a laughing stock. EFCC should follow the law,” she said.
However a lawyer and National Coordinator, Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged, Oghenejabor Ikimi, said the former first lady needs to be investigated since her office as a first lady is not known to come with remunerations.
“Patience should be investigated on how she got the money. We agree that she was the wife of a Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and lastly President. The sum is frightening, knowing that her office, even as First Lady, does not attract remuneration.
"Even if it did attract cash benefits, was it in dollars and how much did she receive? If the anti-graft agencies find her to have amassed such wealth illegally, she should be tried to face the music. She is not bigger than the country as former First Lady.”
In his reaction, Zik Gbemre, National Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, NDPC, said: “The NDPC does not understand the hullabaloo about investigating the former First Lady for questionable wealth. She should be investigated like anyone else suspected to be holding such questionable wealth.
“All anti-graft agencies need do is ensure they do their job within the ambit of the law. People should not see this as a witch hunt or oppression. The accused must also prove her innocence lawfully. She has nothing to fear if she genuinely acquired such wealth. All she needs is proof.”