Former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, Arrested in Owerri
Former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha has been arrested by the police, sources said on Sunday.
Okorocah was arrested alongside Ijeoma Igboanusi and Lasbrey Okafor-Anyanwu by operatives of Imo State Police Command in Owerri.
Igboanusi and Okafor-Anyanwu were Okorocha’s deputy chief of staff (Domestics), and commissioner for transportation when Okorocha was state governor.
Their arrest followed their roles in unsealing the Spring Palm Estate which Governor Uzodinma ordered to be sealed last week.
The estate belongs to Okorocha’s wife, Nkechi, according to sources.
The ex-governor was alleged to have mobilized his supporters, policemen, soldiers and personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on Sunday morning to unseal the estate.
The incidence caused chaos which led to destruction of vehicles and injuries to people.
The Punch quoted a police source to have said “Rochas Okorocha has been arrested. He is here with us at the state CID. Two of his political associates are also with us. We will record him any moment from now. They are currently meeting with the CP.”
Okorocha had alleged that Governor Uzodimma attacked him with “more than 1,000 thugs.”
His spokesperson, Sam Onwuemeodo, said in a statement on Sunday that the governor’s special adviser on special duties, Chinasa Nwanari, led thugs to destroy the estate and vehicles in Okorocha’s convoy.
He said, “More than 1,000 thugs, armed to teeth with knives and guns and led by Chinasa Nwaneri, Governor Hope Uzodinma’s Special Adviser on Special Duties today, Sunday, with the backing of armed policemen from Government House, attacked the former governor of the state and Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Rochas Okorocha’s convoy.
“They attacked and damaged all the vehicles in his convoy. They also attacked his personal aides. Senator Okorocha was with only his personal aides when the thugs unleashed the attack.”
The state government however responded through the state commissioner for information, Mr. Declan Emelumba, that the former governor’s arrest was in line with the report of a White Paper, which indicated that the Royal Palm Estate in the state was built with taxpayers’ money and does not belong to Okorocha wife.
He said Okorocha would be charged to court on Monday, adding that “There was a judicial panel of inquiry that looked into land use and related matters set up by the Emeka Ihedioha administration, which we inherited and retained. They came up with a report and government accepted it, and then turned it to a White Paper.
“Part of the White Paper’s report indicates that the Royal Palm Estate was built with taxpayers’ money, but Okorocha claims it is his wife’s own. However, the report says it was built with government money.
“The facility even violated Owerri master plan as well. Two days ago, the state government went and sealed the place in accordance with the White Paper. Then today, Okorocha, on his own, led thugs and carried hammer to unseal what government sealed off in line with the dictates of the law.
“He (Okorocha) was there, saying he is daring Governor Uzodinma to come and stop him if he (Uzodinma) has courage. This is lawlessness. So, police went there and caught him in the act and arrested him and some of his aides who arrested him. He (Okorocha) would be taken to court tomorrow.”
He denied that Uzodimma attacked the ex-governor with over 1,000 thugs.
“If 1,000 thugs attacked him, would he be alive now? What then would be the business of the police if 1,000 thugs attacked and took him (Okorocha) away,” Emelumba queried.
Imo State police command spokesperson, Mr. Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the arrest of Okorocha, saying “Nobody is above the law. If he is found culpable, we will arraign him at the conclusion of the investigation.”