–      Says; Gov’s Fraudulent Inclination Unveiled

The Imo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, has accused Governor, Hope Uzodinma of fraudulently luring thousands of unsuspecting youths of the state into obtaining suffocating loans in the guise of grants offered by his administration to empower them.

Lancelot Obiaku, Director General, Imo PDP New Media, stated this in a release dated September,9, which he issued and made available to the press.

The PDP New Media scribe said, “On Friday, we uncovered a fraudulent scheme orchestrated by the Hope Uzodimma administration, which deceived thousands of Imo people into obtaining loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Nirsal Microfinance Bank under the pretense of receiving start-up grants.

Our concern stems from Uzodimma’s announcement in June 2021, where he promised to empower 15,000 Imo residents with start-up grants worth N250,000 each, totaling N4 billion. Many were enticed by this promise and eagerly participated, subsequently receiving the aforementioned amount. Uzodimma and his supporters celebrated this initiative as an accomplishment of his government, marking its launch with a grand ceremony at the Dan Anyiam stadium”.

Lancelot further stated that the beneficiaries of the state government’s controversial grant were shocked when they realized on Thursday, September, 7, 2023, that what they were made to believe was a grant by the state government was actually a loan and part of the targeted Credit Facility (TCL) program introduced by the federal government of Nigeria to cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on house holds and businesses nation wide. Hence, the beneficiaries were confused, shocked and disappointed”.

Continuing, the release captioned, “NIRSAL Loan: Again Uzodimma Exposes His Inclination To Fraud—Must account for the N4 bn quoted in loan scam”, said “This was after the beneficiaries had their accounts with their respective deposit money banks debited sums ranging from N70,000 to N230,000 depending on the amount in each individual’s account. 

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the cruel and thoughtless actions of the Governor and his co-conspirators. Not only were the beneficiaries deceived into taking a loan under false pretenses, but they are also left facing the burden of repaying it without a flexible or accommodating repayment plan [moratorium]. It is appalling to consider the impact of suddenly losing over N150,000 on small-scale businesses that already face numerous challenges. This callous manipulation of vulnerable citizens is entirely unacceptable and must not go unaddressed.

This is an insult to the sensibilities of Imo people who know the difference between a loan and a grant. While the former is repaid, the latter is given out freely. We demand that Uzodimma apologize to Imo people for playing on their intelligence to fleece the State.

And now that it is proven that the scheme was a CBN loan, the State Government cannot claim to have spent N4 billion of tax-payers money to freely give out grants to the masses. This is an organized crime and Uzodimma must account for the sum.

We are not surprised by Governor Uzodimma’s actions. Prior to his appointment by the Supreme Court, he had faced corruption charges, and his track record showed a clear inclination towards fraud. The recent incident where he deceived vulnerable citizens further confirms this. This is a Governor who appointed over 240 SAs, yet has shamefully neglected them for the past eight months. They do not even have terms of reference, and have not been paid a single penny as salary. This reveals a clear lack of empathy and responsibility on the part of the Governor, and he must be held accountable for his actions.

However, the good news is that Uzodimma is currently spending his last days as Governor as on November 11, 2023, he will be given a shameful defeat that will spell the freedom of the State from his despotic grips and occasion his retirement from politics”.