Court seizes properties linked to Nigeria’s former first lady

Former First Lady Patience Jonathan waves to supporters despite corruption allegation

Mrs. Jonathan and her properties in Nigeria

LAGOS––The wife of Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan, has been accused of corruption when a judge on Monday ordered the seizure of two properties linked to her assets.  This is the most high-profile and embarrassing case against her since her husband left office.

Judge Nnamdi Dimgba, the sitting judge at the Federal High Court in Abuja, upheld a request from the country’s anti-corruption watchdog to have the properties of the former First lady forfeited for 45 days.

According to Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the properties in upmarket areas of the capital were subject to ongoing criminal investigations.

The houses were linked to a non-governmental organization floated by Patience Jonathan.

Judge Dimgba said the EFCC should finish its investigations within 45 days and charge suspects or else apply for an extension to the seizure.

The former first lady has been involved in a series of legal cases involving properties and cash since her husband was beaten in the 2015 election by Muhammadu Buhari.

Incumbent President Buhari has since embarked on an anti-corruption campaign and vowed to recover what he said were “mind-boggling” sums of stolen public money and properties.

The country’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party has accused Buhari of leading a political witch-hunt, as most of those arrested are PDP members. The PDP, of which Goodluck Jonathan is a member, says Buhari ignores the strife and insecurity in the country and is instead focus on witch-hunt activities.

Several cases have been brought against individuals who served in Jonathan’s administration.

Diezani Alison-Madueke, Jonathan’s long-term oil minister, has also seen properties worth millions of dollars seized in separate legal action in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Alison-Madueke was arrested in London in October 2015 as part of an international money laundering and bribery investigation.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.

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