By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – A ruling party Nigerian senator and gubernatorial hopeful has been arrested for fraud that amounted to “economic sabotage,” an anti-graft official confirmed Monday.
Hope Uzodinma of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was arrested late Sunday in the capital Abuja over failing to execute a $12.5 million contract seen as key to jump-starting the economy, according to Okoi Obono-Obla, head of the country’s presidential panel for the recovery of public property.
Uzodinma is wanted for failing to carry out a project to dredge the Calabar channel in southern Nigeria which he got from the Nigerian Ports Authority, Obono-Obla confirmed to Anadolu Agency by phone.
“Previous invitations for him to explain himself failed to yield a result,” said Obono-Obla.
He said Uzodinma got the contract under the previous administration but failed to execute it or return the money he allegedly received.
“His action is deemed economic sabotage and it is taken very seriously. He is currently being quizzed on the matter,” said the official.
Unless he is replaced by the party, Uzodinma is currently set to be the ruling party's gubernatorial candidate in the southeast Imo state next April.
Under Nigerian law, nothing short of conviction — not arrest, not trial — would be enough to disqualify him from seeking public office.