Police arrest ex-Gov. Okorocha after battle to recover seized estate

Operatives of the Imo state police, Owerri, have arrested, a former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.

Okorocha was arrested on Sunday after he unsealed the Royal Palm Estate sealed by the State Government.

Imo Government on Friday had sealed the Royal Palm Estate along Akachi road.

According to the team led by Commissioner for Lands, Enyinnaya Onuegbu, the seizure was in compliance with the directive of the Imo State gazette on the report of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry on the recovery of Lands and other related matters.

However, Okorocha dared Governor Hope Uzodinma’s directive and broke the locks to recover the estate belonging to his wife, Nkechi.

The ex-governor was accompanied by his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, Ijeoma Igboanusi and Lasbrey Okafor-Anyanwu.

Igboanusi was the deputy chief of staff (Domestics) while Okafor-Anyanwu was the Commissioner for Transportation in Okorocha’s government.

The ex-governor who now represents Imo West at the Senate also stormed the estate with his supporters, policemen, soldiers and personnel of National Security and Civil Defence Corps and ordered the unsealing of the estate.

However, Okorocha and his supporters were confronted by government officials and loyalists of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

The confrontation reportedly left many injured while some cars were damaged.

However, The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba confirmed Okorocha’s arrest.

Emelumba added that Okorocha will be arraigned today (Monday).

Meanwhile, Okorocha on Sunday alleged that Governor Uzodinma attacked him with “more than 1,000 thugs.”

Okorocha, who spoke through his Spokesperson, Sam Onwuemeodo, in a statement on Sunday, alleged that the governor’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Chinasa Nwanari, allegedly led thugs, who stormed the estate and destroyed vehicles in his convoy.

The statement read, “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.

Responding, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Declan Emelumba, dismissed Okorocha’s claim, adding 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 not Okorocha wife’s property.

Explaining that Okorocha would be charged to court on Monday, Emelumba said, “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.”

On the allegation that Uzodinma attacked the ex-governor with over 1,000 thugs, Emelumba described the claim as lies.

“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.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state Police Command, Mr. Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the arrest of Okorocha.

Asked if the former governor would arraigned, Ikeokwu said, “Nobody is above the law. If he is found culpable, we will arraign him at the conclusion of the investigation.”

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