Wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan on Thursday explained why it is important to build the First Lady Peace Mission Building as budgeted in the 2013 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) appropriation budget.
This is coming after about 1,000 protesters yesterday stormed the FCT Administration (FCTA) Secretariat to press the importance of building the First Ladies Secretariat, considering the spate of crisis ravaging different parts of Africa.
Speaking in Abuja at the presentation of “PDP Women in power” calendar 2013, Mrs Jonathan, who appealed to the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass the N4 billion budgeted for the project, explained that the building was not for her, but for Nigeria, which she said would generate employment for Nigerian youths.
According to her, when Maryam Babangida and Mariam Abacha built the Women Centre and the National Hospital they did not carry the buildings when they left government. She added that she will not go with the peace mission building when her tenure expires.
Explaining further, she said the peace mission project was initiated by late President Yar’Adua, adding that other countries lobbied for the mission to be in their countries but it was given to Nigeria on a platter of gold. She noted that the United Nations and ECOWAS buildings are being maintained by Federal Capital Territory Administration.
She cautioned women to resist being used to kick against the project, as women recently demonstrated against the project, adding that if the project was for men the budget for the project would have long been passed.
She disclosed that by March, 70 percent of women will be employed, adding that Nigerian women can be President and governors of this country.
Protesters on Wednesday, in an open letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, said it was a shame and ironic that the construction of Secretariat of such pivotal organ of AFrican Union (AU) could be subjected to ill-motivated criticisms and “evil politics as been witnessed in the country.”
Part of the letter read: “In respect of the efforts by some political mavericks, anti-women and unpatriotic individuals wishing to sabotage the efforts of the FCT Administration (FCTA) under the leadership of Senator Bala Muhammed, and the First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan, as she carries on with her endless programmes which aim to promote the lives of children and youths in Nigeria and indeed Africa.
“The protest held last week in Lagos by a civil society group was politicised to against the proposed construction of the Secretariat as captured in the 2013 budget of FCT administration.
“The evil plots devised by the group include blackmailing FCTA through dubious claims about the 2013 budget presented for debate at the National Assembly by alleging through the media that N5 billion was proposed for the rehabilitation of prostitutes and destitute and N4 billion of the building of a private non-governmental organisation,” it added.