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Sen. Uzodinma denies arrest, vows to remain focused on governorship race

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Uzodinma

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The Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, has denied reports of his arrest.

Some sections of the media have reported that the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property arrested the lawmaker on Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja.

The reports indicated that the chairman of the Panel, Okoi Obono-Obla, said Uzodinma was arrested for failure of his company to execute a contract of 12 million dollars for dredging of Calabar channel.

However, Uzodinma, Chairman, Senate Committee on Nigeria Customs Service, told newsmen in Abuja, that the reports may not be unconnected with his emergence as a governorship candidate.

He vowed to remain focused on the governorship race in spite of attempts to distract him.

He said he would not be distracted by people who were yet to come to terms with his emergence as the governorship candidate in state.

Uzodinma said: “I was never arrested. I also read it in papers like every other Nigerian.”

On the contract, the lawmaker said Niger Global, the company that was accused of the complicity, had only two per cent share in the contract.

“Before I came to the senate, I came from the private sector. I was in oil and gas and marine operations. I operated Niger Global.

READ ALSO: Consistent implementation of energy policy key to steady electricity – Barth Nnaji

“In 2004 we participated in an international deal and Nigeria Ports Authority was looking for partners to manage the channels and we were lucky.

“We were one of the companies that formed the consortium to manage Calabar Channels.

“Calabar Channels Management Company is a joint venture being operated by the NPA. They have the major shareholders.

“They have 60 per cent shareholding and then the consortium of like six other companies had different shares.

“Niger Global had five per cent share and there is a five member board, where NPA has three and the consortium of companies two.

“Before I came to Senate, I was in the board and the technical partners to the consortium dredged the Calabar Channel under the supervision of the Calabar Management Board,” he said.

The lawmaker expressed surprise that the allegations were coming several years after the contract, adding that it was a clear case of witch hunt.

“All I know is that some aggrieved persons are behind this, otherwise where was this panel since 2004.

“I was in the 7th Senate from 2011 to 2015, why did this issue not come out. I have been here in the 8th senate from 2015 to date why didn’t the issue come up.

“To the best of my knowledge, the company worked, even though I am not in the management anymore but I am still one of the minority shareholders of that company.

“If there is any question that must be answered by the company, the majority shareholder should first answer their own query.

“If anything, I am a serving senator and a ranking one at that and the Chairman of the Southern Senators Forum.”

On allegations of non-declaration of asset, Uzodinma said coming from the private sector into politics, he was surprised at the request by the panel.

“Before I joined politics, of course I came from the private sector that is why I became even surprised when the panel said I should declare my asset for the past 20 years.

“I have never seen anywhere in any law where private people are made to declare their asset to government,” he said.

However, he said he obliged the panel by sending his declaration form and copying the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami.

“The Presidential Committee wrote me sometimes last month asking for my asset declaration form alleging that I did not declare my asset.

“I replied and attached my declaration form and copied the Attorney General of the Federation whom I suppose they are working under.”

READ ALSO: Abia Assembly confirms Justice Ogwe’s appointment as Chief Judge

The governorship candidate said he would not be deterred in ensuring that the people of Imo are liberated from the untold hardship they were subjected to.

He said: “with what has happened in Imo State, I thought by now, some of these underdogs should repent but they are still plotting.

“I thought what they would do in the spirit of democracy is to appreciate the fact that some people are now in the party and the party will be better for it.

“It is not easy to do what I have done in recent times. To make sacrifice, I followed my people and encourage them to be in the ruling party.

“So name calling, campaign of calumny and all of that is only a distraction. I have been around for sometimes and I understand the meaning of politics and I refused to be distracted.”

He further denied inducing the APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, in order to be made the party’s flag bearer in Imo.

He called on the aggrieved persons and other stakeholders to work together to grow the country’s democracy.

He added that “some of us believe that this country must grow and we must be given the opportunity to contribute our own quota to national development.”

The post Sen. Uzodinma denies arrest, vows to remain focused on governorship race appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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