Nigerian ex-first lady decries ‘witch-hunt’

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Nigeria’s former first lady Patience Jonathan has accused the boss of the anti-corruption commission of conducting an “unjustified witch-hunt” against her.

Her statement, issued by a media aide and published in Nigeria’sVanguard newspaper, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was following a “sinister script to embarrass and browbeat the former first family”.

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She is married to Goodluck Jonathan, who handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 after losing the election.

The statement said that unlike in the case of other first ladies with pet projects seeking to help the less privileged, her NGOs were “being subjected to indefinite probe and microscopic scrutiny by the Buhari administration”.

EFCC head Ibrahim Magu had linked her to all sort of “fake possession and properties around the country”, it added.

“It has now come to a point where all the magnificent edifices in Abuja, Yenagoa or Port Harcourt are presented to the media as belonging to Mrs Patience Jonathan. Not done, they also accuse her of owning several plots of land in many cities across the country, including places she has never visited.”

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The statement said that Mrs Jonathan’s vehicles have been attacked on the road four times, since 2015 and the couple’s house in Abuja “was vandalised allegedly by security agents sent by government to secure it, and the items stolen are yet to be recovered”.

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The former first lady urged President Buhari to order a stop to such harassment. Last year, the EFCC froze $15m (£11.4m), money the former first lady said was to settle medical bills abroad.

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