Alex Otti denies ordering arrest of Abians who demanded bribe to allow road project

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Alex Otti

The Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, has denied ordering the arrest of some residents for demanding a bribe before a road project could be executed in their locality.

Purveyors of the rumour on social media claimed that some residents of an unnamed community along the Port Harcourt road in Aba demanded to be paid before they would allow the construction of the road project to go ahead.

According to the rumour mongers, Otti invited the supposed claimants to a meeting in Umuahia, which was used as a pretext to arrest and detain them.

However, the Abia governor debunked the rumour in a statement shared by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Communication, Dodoh Okafor on Monday.

The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to a trending social media report wherein the authors, for whatever purpose, alleged that Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, had some young people and elders arrested after he allegedly invited them for peace talks in Umuahia.

“The fact of the matter is that Gov. Alex Otti did not at any time order the arrest of anyone or group of people in connection with any remote or immediate event before and after the flag off of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt Road in Aba.

“To begin with, majority of Ndi Abia from all clans across the state, irrespective of their cultural and religious leanings are profoundly appreciative of the Gov. Otti’s resolve to rehabilitate the long-abandoned Port Harcourt Road which until its collapse in the mid-1990s was a major hub for the sale and repair of heavy duty machineries and spare parts, serving the Port Harcourt industrial complex, further consolidating Aba’s reputation as a major market for manufacturers and big businesses across the country and beyond.

It is estimated that the collapse and subsequent abandonment of Port Harcourt Road by previous administrations cost the city hundreds of billions of naira in earnings, job opportunities and other missed opportunities.

“It then beggars belief that anyone or group would wish to stand against the resolve of the Otti administration to fix that stretch of road, solve the perennial flooding problems in that part of Aba, and make the environment business-friendly once again, as envisaged by Governor Sam Mbakwe of old Imo State who constructed the road to expand the frontiers of economic opportunities in Aba.

“For the records, reports of protests by some youth and subsequent invitation to Umuahia by Governor Alex Otti is untrue and a figment of the imagination of those promoting it, for reasons we cannot immediately determine.”

The Abia government blamed “agents of division” for circulating the rumour, saying the Otti administration assured meaning Abians in particular and Nigerians in general that it is committed to holistically rebuilding and restoring the state’s public infrastructure and shall continue to ignore the antics of detractors seeking to sow seeds of rancour to divide its people.

“Members of the public are especially encouraged to be wary of the antics of several mischievous characters whose stock-in-trade is to create divisions that only serve their selfish agenda,” the statement further read.

 

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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