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Drama in Imo as police arrest ex-Gov Okorocha

Former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, was yesterday arrested by the police on the order of Imo State government for forcibly breaking into a property sealed by the state government. Police spokesman, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed to newsmen that the former governor is being held at the Imo State Police Headquarters.


Also arrested alongside Senator Okorocha were Lasbry Okafor Anyanwu, former Imo Transport Corporation chairman; Princess Igboanusi, former state coordinator on illicit drugs and a few others.


The former governor’s son in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, and a number of others fled just in time, through the back of the gate of the Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartments.


Okorocha had reportedly led his group to the Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment sealed last Friday by the Imo State government, forced away security vehicles mounted in front of the entry to guard against trespassers, destroyed the padlock that sealed the property and moved in with his supporters.


Media consultant for the Imo State government, Mr. Ambrose Nwogwugwu, alleged that the former governor led armed thugs and “vandalized security vehicles and broke into the property of the Imo State government”.


However, while Okorocha and his group were still at the hotel, Mr. Chinasa Nwaneri, Special Adviser to Governor Uzodinma on Special Duties mobilized and led another group of thugs loyal to the government numbering over 100 to enforce the sealing of the property which was hitherto owned and operated by the former first lady, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha.


Okorocha was at the hotel with two of his son in-laws – Uche Nwosu and Uzor Anwukah – and some of his former appointees.


As soon as the pro-government thugs arrived the hotel premises led by Nwaneri and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Nnamdi Anyaehie, a free-for-all ensued as they clashed with Okorocha’s men.


Okorocha’s security and other police officers barely managed to shield him from the melee, but when the dust of the fracas settled, his son in-law, Uzor Anwukah, had been shot while his orderly, Sam Adejor had his shirt drenched in blood following a stab wound.


Most of the former governor’s associates were beaten to a pulp and arrested while a few others escaped.


After Okorocha’s men were dislodged from the property, it took over an hour for the police officers and the officials of the state government to drag out Senator Okorocha from one of the buildings in the plush estate.


Okorocha was, thereafter, bundled into a Hilux truck and whisked away to the Police headquarters in Owerri, the state capital, where he was detained for allegedly taking laws into his hand.


The thugs loyal to the state government thereafter vandalized all the vehicles in Okorocha’s convoy, and thereafter moved into the hotel, stealing and vandalizing anything valuable on sight. Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Enlightenment, Prince Eze Ugochukwu, described Okorocha’s action as a breach of peace and public order.


He said: “Today, we witnessed a former governor engage in an open show of shame when he led armed thugs to break into a property which was sealed following the report of a judicial panel which was fully gazetted.


Okorocha was invited to the panel and he spurned the multiple invitations of the panel only for him to break into the property today. It is an insult on the state and no state government can condone that.


“Okorocha has shown himself to be habitually  lawless. Remember how he used thugs to besiege an INEC returning officer and forced him to announce him winner of his Senate election. Remember also when the state sealed the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, the same Okorocha and his thugs went to the place and unsealed the facility without any authorization and in defiance of the state government.


It is, therefore, a good thing that today, the Police rose to the occasion and Okorocha is in custody as a consequence of his actions.” Reacting also, a media aide to Okorocha, Jones Onwuasoanya, said it was a hatched plot to upstage the former governor. He said Okorocha did not break into the property. His words: “Senator Okorocha did not break into Royal Spring Palms Apartments, but was there to forestall a total breakdown of law and order, by prevailing on his numerous supporters and ordinary citizens of Imo State who had gone there in protest against the state government’s forceful takeover of the property, not to take laws into their hands. “As a former governor and a serving Senator, Okorocha understands the processes of seeking redress when hurt by the government and I can as-  sure you that officials of the state government might have planted the story of him breaking into the property in order to malign him. “Had he been a believer in violence or any sort of self-help, there would have been bloodbath, because Okorocha remains very popular in the state, as against Hope Uzodinma who Imo people detest his very sight.”


Meanwhile, a journalist, James Ojukwu, was caught up in the crossfire when he mistakenly held his phone at a wrong angle and some Policemen who were merely supervising the bedlam and vandalism, assumed he was videoing the proceeding.


They descended on him and beat him until he could barely stand up. He was carried away to safety by some good Samaritans, bruised and battered. As at 8:40p.m. yesterday,


Okorocha was still being held at the Imo State Police Headquarters. The former governor and his associates had all written their statements. Special Adviser on Special Duties, Nwaneri, and some other officials of the government had also completed their statements.


Our correspondent gathered that Okorocha and his associates may be arraigned in court today




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