Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and civil society groups, Thursday, condemned the N4 billion earmarked for the construction of a Mission House for the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, in the 2013 budget of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, saying it is “a mind-boggling fiscal misappropriation.”
It would be recalled that the fund for the mission house, which was expected to serve as centre to host other African First Ladies, was listed in the 2013 budget of FCT, Abuja.
Soyinka and civil society expressed their displeasure in a lettter read during a protest march organised by Women Arise for Change Initiative, which also had in attendance, Mr. Festus Keyamo; wife of late Beko Ransome-Kuti, Abosede; daughter of the late Afro beat king, Yeni Anikulapo and others.
The protesters, who were over 100 converged on the premises of the Lagos State Television, LTV, Agidingbi, Ikeja, and later marched to Lagos House, Alausa. Traffic was partially paralysed around Alausa axis for about an hour due to the activities of the protesters. The protesters displayed various placards which read: “N4 billion will create jobs, so we say no to mission house; N4 billion budget for Mission House, we say no to fiscal rascality.”
The Nobel laureate whose statement to other African First Ladies was read by the President of the Initiative, Mrs. Joe-Okei Odumakin in the presence of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said: “There is no such thing as an African First Ladies Mission in the Nigerian appropriation list.”
He, however, urged other African First Ladies to distance themselves from the idea, saying: “Your names have been invoked as the ultimate beneficiaries and thus, you are vicariously implicated. In the name of St. Valentine and the love I bear for you all, please dissociate yourselves from this display of shameless avarice.
I shall not go so far as to ask you to denounce what you probably know nothing about, but if you ever get to hear of it, distance yourselves from the gross impropriety.”