Former First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan, has struck a deal to release her 200-bed hotel located in Abuja as COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre, according to a report by The Nation. 

The hotel, which is believed to be worth about N2bn, is under interim forfeiture secured by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at the court on April 30, 2018.

The former First Lady, it was learnt, struck the deal with First Lady, Aisha Buhari, which led to her release of the hotel, under litigation, for use by the government at this critical time.

Mrs Buhari, through her pet project, the Future Assured Programme, entered into separate agreements with Mrs Jonathan and the Ministry of Health to convert the hotel into a COVID-19 treatment centre, the newspaper said.

The hotel will be managed by the Federal Capital Territory COVID-19 committee.

It was gathered that the “deal” between the First Lady and her predecessor was struck at a recent meeting in the Presidential Villa.

A source quoted Mrs Jonathan as saying, “This is the time we must all come together, irrespective of political differences to assist this nation to fight the pandemic. It is a time to shun politics.

“I will do everything to help this great country that has also given me the opportunity to serve.”

A highly-placed source added, “Since the dispute over the property is still in court, the First Lady opted to seek the consent of Mrs Patience Jonathan on the temporary use of the seized hotel. This mutual understanding has removed all legal hurdles.

“After the country has overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel will be handed over to the Federal Ministry of Health, which will in turn revert back to the EFCC.

“Those involved are the Future Assured Programme, the Ministry of Health, the EFCC and ex-First Lady Mrs Patience Jonathan.

“All existing agreements are without prejudice to the final decision of the court on the property, which the First Lady said is owned by a separate entity, Aurora Foundation.”

Recall that in 2019, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the permanent seizure of $8.4m and N9.2bn belonging to Mrs Jonathan.

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