HEADLINE | Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021

Police arrest former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha

Former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha (middle), arriving the police station to honour invitation... yesterday.

• Ex-gov accuses Uzodimma of attacking him with over 1,000 thugs

• It's not true, says gov's aide

Police in Owerri have arrested former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, for allegedly breaking and forceful entrance into the sealed massive Spring Royal Palm Hotel and Apartment in Owerri, Imo State.

The multiple-storey building, located near Akachi axis, was built by Nkechi Okorocha. The state's Commissioner for Lands, Enyinnaya Onuegbu, had led the government officials and sealed the premises last Friday evening in compliance with the recommendations of panel that looked into the lands illegally acquired between 2006 and May 2019, which uncovered that the land designated by the government's master plan as green verge was fraudulently acquired by the former governor's wife when Okorocha was the chief executive of the state.

Chief Press Secretary to Governor Hope Uzodimma, Oguwike Nwachuku, who confirmed the former governor's arrest, said the police would decide what to do next.

Nwachuku told The Guardian that Uzodimma's hand was not in the matter. He affirmed that it was purely a matter between Okorocha and the state government, stressing that the police would decide if they would prosecute Okorocha or not.

All the calls put across by The Guardian to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, were not picked. The Superintendent of Police could not return the calls at press time.

Sources told The Guardian that the former governor, who in company of his aides and supporters allegedly forced their way into the sealed hotel amid clash with security officials at the gate and premises, was inside the premises when the police arrived and apprehended him and others. As at time of filing this report, the former governor was yet to be released.

MEANWHILE, Okorocha has accused Uzodimma of recruiting the services of thugs, numbering over 1,000, to attack him yesterday. A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, alleged that many vehicles in his convoy were damaged while some people were wounded.

"Senator Okorocha was with only his personal aides when the thugs unleashed the attack.

"This is the information we can give as of now.

"We are still watching events as they unfold.

"Okorocha has the strongest political structure in the state. If he had expected the attack, he would not have moved with his personal aides alone.

"Okorocha has never been a violent man. This planned attack but unprovoked and unwarranted, has opened a new but ugly chapter in the politics of the state.

"We shall react fully to the situation," the statement said.

But in a swift reaction, Chief Press Secretary to Uzodimma, Oguwike Nwachuku, in a statement, denied the allegation, saying that it was Okorocha who launched an attack against the state government.