Mrs. Patience Jonathan (wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan), has filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), seeking N2bn as compensation for alleged harassment by the anti-graft agency.
She alleged in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/586/2017 filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja that the EFCC violated her rights by incessantly harassing her through negative media publications.
She alleged that the EFCC was denigrating and degrading her person as corrupt, without any invitation for interrogation, trial or conviction.
Mrs. Jonathan cited instances of the alleged harassment and intimidation by the EFCC in an affidavit filed in support of the suit.
She said the instances included the invasion of her properties and the freezing of her accounts, those of her siblings, relatives and her late mother, Mama Sisi Charity Oba.
The supporting affidavit to the suit deposed to by one of her lawyers, Sammie Somiari, stated, “The investigation into the operations of her pet project, when she was First Lady, is an unprecedented act of animosity against her as none of her projects was funded by the government at any level.
“The respondent had physically raided the homes of the applicant and her relatives both in Abuja and Yenagoa.
“Recently the respondent raided the home of the applicant’s first daughter, both at Port Harcourt and Abuja.
“The respondent has waged a psychological war on the applicant by its threats of arrest of the applicant and her relations, such as Mrs. Esther Oba, Tamunotonye Oba and her elder brother, Mr. Aseminaso Nyengierefaka.”
She alleged that the commission was persecuting her over her “political views” during the campaign for the 2015 presidential election which her husband contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party and lost to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress.
She accused the EFCC of waging “psychological war” against her by persistently intimidating, harassing and threatening her and those around her.
She identified some of her frozen accounts to include the five she opened with Skye Bank.
According to the affidavit, the former first lady opened the accounts following the advice by a former Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, on how she could pay for her treatment abroad without having to move huge cash around in violation of money laundering laws.
The affidavit accused the EFCC of demonstrating “pathological dislike” towards the former first lady despite the fact that she was never a public office holder.
She is among other prayers seeking an order for general damages/compensation in the sum of N2bn for the alleged violation of her fundamental rights.
She equally wants a declaration that indiscriminate freezing of her bank accounts and those of her relatives by the EFCC under the guise of investigation of proceeds of crime, without any invitation or interrogation by the respondent is a violation of her rights to own property and to fair hearing guaranteed under Sections 44 and 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
The matter came up for mention before Justice John Tsoho on Thursday.
It was adjourned until November 16.
The EFCC is expected to file its response to the suit before then.