The Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma has opened up on his reported arrest by the Special Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public property.
The senator had secured the governorship ticket of the All Progressive Congress, ‘APC in Imo State after a nail biting struggle with Governor Rochas Okorocha who had preferred his son in law, Uche Nwosu.
At a time all hope was lost that he will not be recognized as the governorship candidate of the party, INEC in the night hours of Friday, 9th November, 2018 pasted his name as the governorship candidate of the APC in Imo State at its headquaters in Owerri.
Barely 48 hours after he scaled that hurdle, he was reportedly been arrested by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property.
Okoi Obono-Obla, Chairman of the panel, said the lawmaker, who represents Imo West at the National Assembly, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Sunday.
He disclosed that the panel was investigating the lawmaker over his company’s failure to execute contract of $12 million for the dredging of Calabar channel awarded by Nigerian Port Authority, NPA.
“This evening, at about 8.20pm, operatives of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel For Recovery of Public Property at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport arrested the APC governorship candidate in Imo State, Hope Uzodinma.
“He was disembarking from an Air Peace P47324 flight from Lagos.
“The panel is investigating economic sabotage against Senator Uzodinma arising out of the failure of his company to execute a contract of $12m for the dredging of Calabar channel awarded by the NPA,” Obono-Obla, said in a brief statement.
But the Senator was quoted in a statement to have denied his reported arrest by the police and described the news of the purported arrest as the handiwork of political opponents.
He told reporters who had on Sunday evening thronged his Maitama home in Abuja to inquire about the purported arrest that some plain clothes men claiming to be police officers attached to the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property accosted him at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on his way from Lagos on Sunday evening where he attended a private function.
“The men claimed they were looking for me in respect of my alleged non-assets declaration by the Presidential Panel. I demanded for the warrant of arrest which they said they don’t have but that the Chairman of the Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property wanted to see me. I told them if it is true, they should do the right thing by getting a warrant of arrest and not inviting me on a Sunday”, he said.
Uzodimma who represents Imo West Senatorial District (Orlu Zone) said “after my demand for an arrest warrant and that police invitations are extended only on week days, the so-called policemen immediately disappeared and I drove back to my house with my security details. Nobody arrested me”.
The Governorship hopeful said that “I have never been invited by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property or written formally by the Panel over my purported non-assets declaration. I begin to wonder what the motive behind all these is. I have never defaulted in my assets declaration since I became a public officer. The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) which is statutorily in charge of assets declarations has all my documents”.
While appealing to his teeming supporters to remain calm and disregard the campaign of calumny, Uzodimma urged his political opponents to embark on meaningful engagements instead of character assassination.