-Says:abortion clause to be introduced at point of assent 

As Imo assembly fixes day for public hearing

By Martin Opara   

Prof. Philip Njemanze, Medical Director of New Chudicom Hospital, Owerri, and Coordinator Pro Life Movement, Imo State Chapter, has accused those behind the repealed but now resurrected abortion bill of having received 3 million dollars to sponsor and ensure that the bill sails through, despite all odds.

Prof. Njemanze, who is also Chairman, Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners, Imo State Chapter, who stated this in an exclusive interview with Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper, recalled that, Senator Dino Melaye, had earlier accused agents of the anti life movement of dolling out 10 million dollars to promoters of the bill in the country to facilitate the passage of the bill, while the arrow head was given 3 million dollars to mobilize and coordinate activities.

He said, he is not surprised that the bill, he, and members of his group fought against vehemently, during the Governor Okorocha’s tenure, is gradually being resurrected by the 9th Imo State House of Assembly for inexplicable reasons.

When asked, if he is accusing Hon. Uju Onwudiwe, sponsor of the bill of having received 3 million dollars, to sponsor the bill, named, “Bill to eliminate “Violence in private, domestic and public life”, he said  he did not say so but that all he knows is that, “like Dino Melaye had earlier said, huged sum of money was released for sponsoring and ensuring that the said bill is signed into law. “Have you wondered where the sponsor of the bill gets money to rent hotel accommodation for public hearing, mobilize groups and lobby fellow legislators to support the bill? Are you saying they are using their personal fund to do all of this?”, He queried.

When told that the legislator, Hon Onwudiwe had in an interview, stated that there is nothing like abortion law in the said bill, and those criticizing it are ill-informed, Prof. Njemanze, said, “she may be right afterall. But the truth of the matter is that when the bill is finally signed into law, the concealed obnoxious clauses and provisions they don’t want us to see or know about now, will be surreptiously included”.

He cited what played out in the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2020, stressing that, when the law was sponsored by Hon. Frank Ugboma, the PDP legislator for Oguta State consutituency, it had 375 pages, but when it was eventually signed into law, it became a 485 page document. “This means, that some unknown persons had added 109 pages”.

“This unwholesome development clearly shows that some incredulous persons with ulterior motive had padded it to suit their selfish and questionable interest, against the wish of the majority”.

“Hence, it is has become obvious that some lawmakers, most times, are not aware of the contents of the laws they make because of behind the scene alterations and manipulations”.

He further said, “any law that is pretentiously made to protect women, without addressing violence against the unborn child is an abortion law in disguise, because the unborn child deserves to live. Nobody, should under any circumstance, encourage abortion or the termination of life at any stage”.

He expressed dismay that, some people, who have, out of selfish interest, mortgaged their conscience on the altar of self aggrandizement are pressing buttons and firing on all cylinders to ensure the passage of the obnoxious bill, that, if not halted, will erode our values as rational human beings and undermine our cherished age long Christian, traditional and customary norms as Africans.      

He vowed that he and members of his group will stop at nothing to ensure that the bill does not sail through.

Meanwhile, the Imo State House of Assembly Committee on Gender Development and Vulnerable Groups has in a release signed by the Speaker Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins as Chief host and Hon. Amb. Uju Onwudiwe, as chairman of the committee, invited stakeholders, women organizations, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, CSOs, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Faith based organizations, interest groups and the general public to a one day public hearing on a “A Bill for a Law to eliminate violence in private, domestic ‘ and public life; prohibit all forms of gender based violence harmful traditional practices,. Discrimination against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders and other related matters”.

The release further said that, all memoranda in should be submitted in 5 hard copies and a soft copy to the Clerk, House Committee on Gender Development and Vulnerable  Groups at the Imo State House of Assembly, Ikemba Ojukwu Centre, on or before close of work on October 19th 2020.

Effort to reach Hon. Uju Onwudiwe for comment proved abortive as she did not respond to our phone calls.