Former minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has described as false a story published by an online news medium that her family was planning to open a multi-million dollar hospital in Abuja.
Paul C Nwabuikwu, the media adviser to the former minister, said in a statement on Sunday, August 23, that having failed to achieve any success after months of unsubstantiated figures and wild allegations against the former minister, the political and corrupt vested interests who had been attacking her, had turned their evil attention on her family.
According to Nwabuikwu, the false story that Okonjo-Iweala’s family was planning to open a multi-million dollar hospital in Abuja published by the “corrupt website,” is the latest chapter in the anti-Okonjo-Iweala campaign.
He described the story as totally baseless for the very simple reason that the alleged hospital is non-existent.
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The statement said: “Anyone who is in doubt can go to Gwarinpa, Abuja where the hospital is allegedly located or enquire from General Electric and Perkins + Will Global, the two organisations that were mentioned as consultants to the project in the report as to whether the hospital has been built.”
“The real facts are as follows: Dr Ikemba Iweala, the husband of Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a recently retired neuro-surgeon and emergency physician with over 40 years’ of practice in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. Three of their four children are US-trained medical doctors, including Uchechi Iweala who was mentioned in the story. Uchechi has an MD and MBA from Harvard. To actualise his desire to give back to the country, Dr Ikemba Iweala for the past few years has been working on establishing a hospital in the Federal Capital Territory.
He has used his savings to develop the concept and design of the hospital. So far efforts to source financing for the project are ongoing. It is the prototype design and website of the yet to be realised project that the news medium, doing the bidding of its corrupt pay masters, seeks to turn into a multi-billion dollar evidence of corruption,” the statement read.
Nwabuikwu stated that Okonjo-Iweala was the object of this ceaseless campaign of falsehoods and distortions because she refused to steal and share, adding that she also blocked many powerful people, some of whom are now in power, from stealing.
He added: “That is why they would go to any lengths to tarnish her name". According to him, the former minister has a clean record of two terms in office and is not afraid of a transparent investigation of her two terms in office.
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“She supports the anti-corruption drive in Nigeria. No one who has had the privilege of serving his or her country should feel too big to be investigated. It is this very issue of fighting corruption that brought her back in the first place and she has a track record of blocking corruption. It is ironic that it is those same corrupt people who are trying to tarnish her image using corrupt media,” he said.
The spokeman noted that it was the former minister’s fight against subsidy scammers that led to her mother being kidnapped in 2012 with the demand by the scammers that she should resign and leave the country.
Meanwhile, Some protesters in Lagos had a march, demanded that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ayo Oritsejafor and other officials within the immediate past Jonathan-led administration be jailed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The protesters, who walked from the popular Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in Ojota at about 10 am to the bridge at Obafemi Awolowo way in Ikeja, specifically demanded the investigation and prosecution of Okonjo-Iweala, the finance minister in the Jonathan’s administration.
They urged President Buhari to put behind bars those they claimed were responsible for the massive embezzlement of the nation’s public funds during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan.