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Reps demand identities of whistle blowers against Patience Jonathan

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition on Wednesday requested for the identity of whistle blowers who gave tip-off leading to the raid of choice Abuja property belonging to the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.

The lawmaker issued the directive to officials of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) during an investigative hearing on the petition sent to the House through her counsel,

The Committee also summoned leaderships of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Federal Inland Revenue Service as well as the Nigerian Police to appear as defendants in a petition sent to House alleging incessant harassment of the former first lady and her relations.

As the only respondent present at Wednesday hearing of the case, Femi Oloruntoba, who spoke on behalf of NDLEA informed the Committee that the agency got a tip-off from an unnamed source to the effect that the property located at Igbeti Rock Street, Maitama, Abuja was being used for drug related activities.

He said: “Based on the information, eight officers of my agency visited the premises, after surveillance was conducted on the premises. It is not true that 50 officers from my agency visited the premises.”

He said the officer who met two occupants of the premises provided them with a search endorsement form which they endorsed indicating that the search was conducted without any damage to the property or any loss of items.

Asked on how the agency remedies a situation where it breaks into a premises as alleged and did not find any exhibit, having inflicted structural damages on the property, he said the agency never knew that the premises belonged to the former first lady, adding that a letter was written by a solicitor on behalf of a man who claimed to be the owner of the premises.

The official who said NDLEA can by law raid premises using identity cards as warrant also added that even the letter did not suggest illegality of the raid, but rather enquired if the search was a lawful exercise.

The committee therefore demanded that the NDLEA provides it with the identity of the said source before the next adjourned date.

The legal team from Granville Abibo (SAN) & Co led by Sammie Somiari – who petitioned the House on behalf of Patience Jonathan had earlier told the committee that the team would adopt the initial petition as their brief in the matter, adding that additional documents were available to substantiate whatever they have raised in the petition.

The Jonathan’s counsel argued that the EFCC and NDLEA have engaged in unwanton attacks on former First Lady, cited different media reports and newspaper headlines as pointers to the allegation of attacks on their client.

He said: “The EFCC has serially orchestrated a design to freeze the personal accounts of Mrs Jonathan, her siblings and other relations and associates.”

He said a case in point is one Aridolf Jo Resort Wellness and Spa Ltd off Okota Estate and Finchley Top Homes Limited which were all shut down without any justifiable reason by the EFCC with their accounts frozen.

While ruling, the committee directed the Clerk of the Comittee to send reminders to all agencies joined in the case that are yet to show appearance to provide documents regarding their role in the matter as well as appear for hearing on the next adjourned date of September 19, 2017.

 

Source: Business Day

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Adeeko Ademola

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