The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday adjourned the hearing of a fundamental human rights suit by former first lady Patience Jonathan against the EFCC to March 6.

Mrs. Jonathan wants the anti-graft agency to unfreeze her account.

Justice Muhammed Idris granted the adjournment at the request of the counsel to the 4th-6th defendants in the suit.  

At the resumed hearing, Ifedayo Adedipe, counsel to Mrs. Jonathan, said he had served the application to every party and that he was ready for the matter to be heard.

While EFCC counsel Anana Nkerurem and other counsels in the case affirmed they were also ready, Jeff Kadiri, the counsel to the 4th-6th defendants who was holding brief for Chief Mike Ozokheme, pleaded for an adjournment. He said he had only just been briefed on the matter, and sought the indulgence of the court to enable him file the necessary processes.

Mr. Adedipe said he would not oppose Mr. Kadiri’s request.  But observing that the counsel to the 4th-6th defendants were first served the application in 2016 and later served on January 1st, 2017, was not pleased Mr. Kadiri needed more time to go through the matter.

Meanwhile, a group of women calling itself "Nigeria Women" today occupied the court premises in solidarity with Mrs. Jonathan, who was absent. They expressed disappointment at the way the former first lady was being "harassed and maltreated". 

The group headed by one Mrs. Kate Onyejere, dressed in the attires of various ethnic groups, said they were not happy because “they” just want to punish Mrs. Jonathan.

"Patience Jonathan is the only first lady who stood by the Nigerian women and touched the lives of the Nigerian women,” she said. “I want to ask, why freeze this woman's account? This woman has been an independent woman and was part of the women who sponsored her husband during the governorship race, to tell you she's solid and independent. Why are they harassing her and going to her house with masks? Is she a criminal? Why are they going to her mother's house and saying they won't touch the husband? When you touch a man's wife, haven't you touched the man? When you touch the child, haven't you touched the man?"

She called on all former heads of state and presidents to come to the rescue of Mrs. Jonathan.

"This is the time for stakeholders in the country to speak up. The likes of General Abdusalam Abubakar, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, they should speak up now," Mrs. Onyejere said.

When asked about her group reportedly having been paid N40 million for the job, she said she was sponsoring the effort by herself.  

“Who can pay me?” she asked. “Who can pay these women here, among them are doctors, lawyers and other professionals from various tribes and walks of life, how much can you pay each of them?  Patience may be in Germany, I don't know, but I sponsor these buses that bring us here every day.  So the answer is no, nobody pays me."

Mrs. Jonathan is demanding $200 million from the anti-graft commission as damages for infringing on her rights.

She is also asking the court to issue an order discharging the freezing order and restraining the EFCC and its agents from further placing a freezing order on the said accounts.

Joined in the suit are Skye Bank Plc, and a former Special Assistant to ex-President Jonathan, Waripama-Owei Dudafa.

Others include Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd, Transocean Property and Investment Company Ltd and Globus Integrated Service Ltd.

Ex-First lady Patience Jonathan

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