Patience, wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, says she has spent N3.5 billion treating children with heart-related diseases.
Jonathan said she has treated over 700 children through her foundation — Aruera Reachout Foundation.
She said this while reacting to allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that she used the foundation to launder stolen funds during her husband’s tenure as president.
The former first lady said the foundation — a “non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation” — sponsors the treatment and surgery of children and adults with heart conditions through its medical unit.
“Till date, over 700 children have benefited from the Aruera Reachout Foundation, this alone cost the foundation billions, it is not news that the logistics involved in the treatment of heart disease cost over N5m per child,” she said in a statement issued by Belema Meshack-Hart, her spokesman.
“This demonstrates the caring and maternal nature of Nigeria’s former first lady.
“God has used her as an instrument to positively touch the lives of some of our nation’s sick children, to make them healthy and happy through the appropriate medical intervention, it is now strange and sad that the EFCC will allege that such foundation only existed to launder funds.
“The many sick children that would have died but now live a happy life will stand as testament against the baseless propaganda and shameless allegation of the EFCC.
“It is worthy of note that the foundation which is duly registered by the CAC is free to receive donations from reputable individuals and organisations for its projects just like any other NGO.”
Jonathan is being tried by the EFCC for alleged money laundering.
She had accused Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the commission, of being bent on destroying her family.
“We believe that she is being systematically persecuted and punished because of her unflinching support for her husband during the 2015 elections,” her spokesman had said in a statement.