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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Protest at National Assembly over alleged persecution of Jonathan’s family

A Coalition of Ethic‎ Nationalities on Wednesday protested against alleged persecution of some former President Goodluck Jonathan's family members by the Department of State Services (DSS) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) “under the guise of war against corruption.”
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The groups claimed that operatives of DSS, EFCC and National Drugs Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) invaded the Abuja's residence of Mrs. Patience Jonathan in the absence of the former First Lady, without any formal notice or warrant.

The protesters who were heading for the National Assembly were stopped at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja by a horde of policemen before they could access the Parliamentary complex.

Some of the protesters however assembled at the first gate to the National Assembly where they addressed reporters on their mission to Abuja.

The protesting groups consisted of Ijaw Youths, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum and Yoruba Youth Council.

They particularly expressed displeasure over the ongoing trial of former first Lady, Patience Jonathan and ‎a cousin of former President, Rob­erts Azibaola and his wife, Stella, ‎by EFCC on what they described as “phantom charges.”

The protesters who displayed various inscriptions ‎lampooning the EFCC and the DSS urged the National Assembly and other concerned Nigerians to intervene to halt trend.

In a letter addressed to the leadership of National of Assembly, the groups appealed on the National Assembly to call “DSS, EFCC, NDLEA to order over alleged witch hunting exercise against the former President family members.”

They asked the National Assembly to ensure that the DSS, EFCC and others adhered strictly to the principle of rule of law in their operations..

They said “An agency set up by an Act of Parliament can definitely not be allowed to be turned into a tool for witch hunting of perceived enemies by any government in power.”

They particularly condemned the freezing of the account of former first lady and some other people related to her without any investigation.

 "This is direct violation of one of three cardinal tenet of the rule of law as regards promotion of human and protection from arbitrariness.

“The so called prosecution of Patience Jonathan in particular by EFCC on alleged money laundry is nothing but media trial which will not in any add any value to the war against corruption.

“We call on the National Assembly to caution the EFCC to desist from carry out media trial of cases already in court. This is because it robs the government of much needed goodwill and credibility it needs to succeed in the war against corruption.

"A legal system that tries innocent family members and friends for the alleged offences of their relatives and friends would surely suffer a credibility crisis. 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 brief publicity it gets from its current modus operandi.

" We are urging, our esteemed representatives to caution and rein in the EFCC to operate within the confines of their laws, lest they become victims of corrupting influence of Absolute power. Also, there is need to ensure that the current administration's anti-corruption crusade is not viewed as vendetta against perceived foes due to the actions of the EFCC which may not reflect your genuine though and intentions for enacting the law that established it."

Leaders of the groups included Bristol Alagbariya Emmanuel (Secretary General Ijaw Youth Council), Comrade Eric Oluwole (National President, Yoruba Youths Council) Mazi-Okechukwu(National Youth leader, Ohanaeze)

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