Congressional Republicans and business leaders slammed far-left “Squad” member and New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over comments she made about the recent rash of “smash-and-grab” thefts taking place all over the country.
In an interview with the Washington Times last week, Ocasio-Cortez said that “a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out.”
“I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up,” she said.
Walgreens announced in October that it was closing five stores in the city of San Francisco following a rash of thefts at its stores in the area, The Daily Wire reported.
“Due to ongoing organized retail crime, we have made the difficult decision to close five stores across San Francisco,” Walgreens announced at the time.
“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,” said Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average. During this time to help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.”
Retail theft has since spread across the state of California, and has spread to other major cities across the country like Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
“I don’t know what data she is talking about, but you don’t really need much data from [some place] in San Francisco or California,” Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis said about Ocasio-Cortez. “All you need to do is walk down the street to the CVS in Eastern Market,” he continued, referring to a public market in the area of the Capitol building. “I’ve seen on multiple occasions when I’ve been in there buying things, someone will come in and raid a shelf and walk out.”
“It’s important that people use appropriate words when something is clearly happening,” California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa added. “Law enforcement may have to say ‘alleged’ because no one has been convicted, but I think people who know better should use more appropriate words. But she’s not known for appropriate words,” he continued, adding that Ocasio-Cortez’s “credibility continues to fall.”
Indiana Republican Congressman Jim Banks told the Washington Times that Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks are “tone deaf and offensive,” citing the example of a security guard who was murdered while trying to protect a news team covering a smash-and-grab robbery in San Francisco.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association also blasted the New York Democrat.
“Respectfully, the congresswoman has no idea what she is talking about. Both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions,” Jason Brewer, the RILA’s senior executive vice president of communications wrote in an email to the Washington Times. “If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that.”
The National Retail Federation told the Times that “organized retail crime” has cost businesses an average of $719,548 per $1 billion in sales in 2021. That cost of lost merchandise has been above $700,000 for the past five years, the NLRF said.
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Nigerians in diaspora key to revamping the economy, democracy, says Utomi
By Chukwudi Nweje
Former presidential adviser, Prof Pat Utomi, who is also the leader of the National Consultative Front (NC Front), has said Nigerians in the diaspora have a crucial role to play in revamping the economy and saving the country’s democracy.
Utomi, who said this during a meeting with Nigerian professionals in Dallas, Texas, the United States at the weekend also noted that Nigerians in diaspora remit more money home than the country earns from the sale of crude oil, but have been denied the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process by selfish politicians who fear the positive changes they will engender in the country’s democracy.
He said, “The Diaspora have higher competencies and a global network but is being blocked from their natural role in national rejuvenation by professional politicians in Nigeria who thrive on exclusion to achieve state capture, deserves a place at the table. The Diaspora remit more money home than Nigeria earns from crude oil sales. The Diaspora are high stakeholders with a moral obligation to help halt the drift in Nigeria.”
He urged Nigerians in the diaspora to partner the NC Front in ‘a shadow government’, which he said aims at developing policy plans to revive some critical sectors of the country’s economy that are lying comatose.
“The alternative government’s strategy involves a Marshal Plan type saturation investment in education, healthcare and the stimulation of markets that would further yield a prosperity paradox in infrastructure. The national economic strategy which is built on clusters of manufacturing hubs and technology parks in the six zones of Nigeria will drive global value chains anchored on the latent comparative advantage of each zone’s factor endowments and will produce a dramatic turnaround in Nigeria’s fortunes.
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He added that the NC Front will in the coming weeks announce a political party platform that will enable Nigeria to claim the promise of the founding fathers that peace and prosperity will define the future, in brotherhood, though tribe and tongue may differ.
“As soon as the current government is replaced there would be a diaspora global roadshow to showcase opportunities for diaspora joint ventures on the select endowments around which the value chains will be rolled out. This will quickly bring us to a full-employment economy and make Nigeria the true powerhouse of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Utomi said Nigerians should reject both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023 as they both represent retrograde opportunism.
He said that as 2023 approaches that Nigerians must move away from the politics of big men to those of big ideas to save the country.
“It is this politics of big men that deluded many Nigerians to think Buhari would help eliminate corruption only for corruption to get worse on his watch. Governing has reached its lowest ebb in memory with Nigeria’s import bills having at its top two items Nigeria should be exporting, premium motor spirit and food. These kinds of failures were the tradition of the anti-people government of corrupt big men that APC and PDP represents. A government that cares for and loves its people will not have politicians obsessed with self-love when just a little thoughtfulness can reduce the sufferings of the people and accelerate the pace of progress. To achieve a purposeful, people-centred government requires leaders of integrity, character, and a heart for the people”, Utomi said.
2023: Sen Adamu’s reconciliation c’ttee will position APC for victory – VON DG, Okechukwu
The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, has said the Senator Abdullahi Adamu reconciliation committee is positioning the p
All Progressives Congress (APC) for 2023 electoral victory.
Okechukwu told newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, that the decision to set up the committee was one of the sterling achievements of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor Mai Mala Buni.
The APC chieftain, who was a member of the sub committees in the merger process that formed APC, noted that the Adamu-led conciliation committee has been going about their responsibilities with uncommon insight, purpose and empathy.
He stated, “I will not be mistaken if one calls the Reconciliation Committee the nine wisemen, because they are generating germane responses and inputs that would help in strengthening our great party and turning it into a formidable national political movement on the eve of 2023 general elections.
“The committee yes has some challenges, nonetheless has recorded tremendous success that would position our great party for 2023 general elections.
“I think with this reconciliation move, APC is becoming the party the founding fathers envisioned and it is a thing of joy that the CECPC selected such claiber of persons to perform this onerous task.”
On reports about setbacks suffered by the committee in some states, Okechukwu, said, “Nobody expected the crisis dogging over 15 state chapters to be settled at once. All I know is that the Senator Adamu’s Committee has so far recorded huge successes in the South East, North West, North East, South West and South South.
“Yes, there are unresolved issues in states like Osun, Kwara and Adamawa, but my understanding is that reconciliation is a work in progress.”
The APC chieftain disclosed that he participated in the meeting for reconciliation of the three factions or tendencies in his home state, Enugu, remarking, “One was impressed with how diligent and painstaking Senator Adamu and his team grilled us. That one can say today that we are rebuilding APC Enugu State Chapter with Senator Ken Nnamani, former Governor Sulivan Chime and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, which was mangled by the congresses.”
“It must be noted that the Committee rebuked us for playing blame games instead of building bridges for victory in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“Today, we are almost united, as we are harmonising at ward, local government and state levels. We hope before the end of this week, APC Enugu State chapter will reunite as one family.”
He expressed optimism that Abia, Gombe, Akwa Ibom and other states would comply with advisory template of the Senator Adamu’s Committee.
His words: “Based on what I have witnessed, the Senator Adamu Committee will reconcile all the prolonged crisis in the state chapters, which contributed to the delays in holding the party’s national convention.”
He recalled with pain that since June 2020, when the APC caretaker committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, was inaugurated, the convention has been postponed several times.
He hoped that the efforts of Senator Adamu’s Committee will lead to seamless national convention, a mandate which President Buhari gave H.E. M.M. Buni CECPC.
Yoruba Ronu Group endorses Tinubu for 2023 presidency
A Yoruba socio-political organization, Yoruba Ronu Group (YRG), said Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is capable to be Nigeria’s president in 2023.
Prince Diran Iyantan, YRG President, stated this on Sunday in Akure at a meeting of the group.
“Yoruba Ronu Group is driven by a deep love for and commitment to Yoruba interest.
“We have said it at many quarters that it is our intention to endorse a presidential candidate beneficial to the country, from any of the accredited political parties in the country.
“Our organisation, of which I am the president, has from inception, and as stated in its constitution, committed to a progressive Nigeria.
“Therefore, as its titular head, I am able to call a meeting to endorse the candidacy of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu since he made his intention known to contest the presidential election,” he stated.
According to him, as the emerging political order of the Yoruba and, indeed, Nigerians, the organisation deemed it fit to call a general meeting to endorse Tinubu’s candidacy.
“This, devoid of partisan political attachment, is instanced of the analytical assessment made on every aspirant to the office of the president at the moment and beyond it. This is our best foot moving forward.
“Tinubu’s experience is noteworthy as a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as an administrator of immense proportion, and as the governor of Lagos State where he held sway as an accomplished leader for eight, unforgettable years.
“It is with Asiwaju’s immense successful track record and his values as a promoter of men that we have decided to endorse his presidential ambition.
“This includes that we shall marshal our numerous supporters and followers to mobilise for his success at the poll,” he said.
Iyantan urged all well-meaning Yoruba sons and daughters to throw their weight behind Tinubu, saying that he was the best choice coming from the Southwestern part to aspire for the presidency.
“He will build on the existing infrastructure and the legacies of our revered President Muhammadu Buhari.
“He will improve on the security status of the country. He would make the economy thrive and bring back the unity of the country which we lost at the point of the civil war,” Iyantan stated.
The YRG leader described Tinubu as a dogged fighter who, in the past, fought tenaciously to restore sanity to the polity of the country when no other person in the military or in politics could do it.
“A man like him deserves the support of every Nigerian in APC, in any other political party or in the private sector in the country.
“Tinubu is a product of God’s magnanimity to mankind in this generation.
“This is the time to look back and to look forward as well; to bring out from our archive what is good and join it with what is good at present to drive for what will be good for us in future.
“We are full of hope for the said future because of what will be attainable going by the goodwill of Asiwaju and his concern for a colorful vision of Nigeria.
“There has been serious elation shown by the people of the South West and all over the country for Asiwaju’s declaration,” he stated.
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