Jonathan rationalises church gift, says he violated no law

The Presidency on Wednesday said President Goodluck Jonathan did not contravene the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by attending the dedication of a Church in Otuoke, his village in Bayelsa.

Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, made the explanation in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said “the public acknowledgement by the president of the assistance of a corporate entity to renovate the Church did not amount to statutory violation.’’

Mr. Abati described as baseless and unsustainable, the call for the impeachment of the president over the issue.

“The presidency has noted with surprise and some amusement, the patently laughable attempt by political opponents of President Jonathan and their collaborators to brew up a storm in a cup over the alleged “gift” of a church to the president.

“These allegations are nothing other than another mischievous attempt to denigrate Jonathan, cast unjustifiable aspersions on his personal integrity and distract him from the serious business of governance,’’ he said.

“The presidency wishes to state emphatically that Jonathan never solicited or received a church as bribe from any contractor.

“Yes, a contractor who has worked and continues to work in Bayelsa and other parts of Nigeria, thought it fit, in fulfillment of its corporate social responsibility, to facilitate the renovation of the small Church in the president’s home town of Otuoke,’’ Abati added.

He said the church did not belong to Jonathan or his family, but to the Anglican Communion and Otuoke.

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