A hotel belonging to Patience Jonathan, former first lady, will be converted to an isolation and treatment centre for COVID-19 patients, according to TheNation.
The hotel, said to be located in Abuja, is reportedly under interim forfeiture secured by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2018.
The newspaper quoted a source as saying the former first lady “struck a deal” with Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, which led to the release of the hotel, for use by the government.
The wife of the present was said to have entered into the agreement with Patience through her pet project- the Future Assured Programme.
During the negotiation, Patience was quoted 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.”
The wife of the president was also said to have made an offer to Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, to convert the hotel to a treatment centre that “meets international standards”.
The hotel will reportedly be managed by the federal capital territory (FCT) COVID-19 committee while the Future Assured Programme will provide facilities like water, furniture, bedding, fittings and modern health equipment used in managing COVID-19 cases.
“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,” a source was quoted to have said.
“After the nation 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, therefore, the Future Assured Programme, the Ministry of Health, the EFCC and ex-First Lady Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
“All the 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.”
In 2019, a federal high court in Lagos ordered the permanent seizure of $8.4 million (about N3 billion) and N9.2 billion, belonging to the former first lady.
Mojisola Olatoregun, the presiding judge, gave the order in line with an application filed by the EFCC.
The EFCC had argued that the money was suspected to be proceeds of crime.