Nigeria’s presidency has reacted to newspaper reports credited to an opposition spokesperson alleging that Patience,Â the wife ofÂ President Goodluck Jonathan was investigated for money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
A statement issued today by Ima Niboro, presidential spokesman debunked the allegation, adding that the matter was buried several years ago, with a public denial by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, now a presidential candidate, who ran the affairs of the EFCC at the time of the alleged incident. The full statement read:
“Our attention has been drawn to a statement in the media today in which the spokesman for the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign organizationÂ regrettably sought to cast aspersions on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, over a matter that was laid to rest last year.
Responding to an unfortunate statement from the PDP presidential campaign office which was certainly not authorized by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who abhors all forms of political mudslinging, Mr. Yinka Odumakin sadly chose to ignore facts that are of common knowledge and invoke falsehood, spurious insinuations and accusations.
Mr. Odumakinâ€™s cynical attempt to tar the first lady with the brush of alleged corruption over a matter from which she has been publicly cleared of any involvement by the former chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu ought to be deplored by all.
Mr. Odumakin cannot claim to be unaware that speaking with journalists on September 15, last year Mallam Ribadu who is now a presidential candidate himself, said as follows:
â€œI never handled a case against Patience Jonathan, never; itâ€™s a lie. You know it is so sad because in our country this is how we go about maligning people. But today thank God I am not in his government. So, I can open up and talk. If I were to say it earlier people would have thought that I was looking for job from President Goodluck Jonathan. I am not looking for anything. But the truth must be told.” (The Nation, September 16, 2010).
Thisday of September 17, 2010 also quoted him as stating as follows:
â€œThe case had to do with a lady and a man who lodged huge sums of money in the bank. The EFCC was alerted by the bank and an investigation was carried out. It was found that they legitimately earned the money through contracts executed in the state. All the reports in the media were lies. For instance, it was initially reported that N70 million was lodged into the bank. Later, it was reported that the money ran into millions of dollars. Such was the extent of the lies. We never handled a case against Patience Jonathan.â€
The Presidency totally condemns thisÂ groundless attempt to impugn the integrity of President Jonathan and the first lady.
We urge all aspirants in the forthcoming general elections to focus on real issues and policy options for improving the living conditions of Nigerians instead of peddling false accusations against opponents.”