Former Governor Rochas Okorocha has been arrested after leading some men to gain forceful access to the Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments which was sealed off by the Imo State Government last week.
Okorocha, who is the current Senator representing Imo West senatorial district at the Senate, was said have personally led the men to forcefully break into the property said to belong to his wife, Nneoma Rochas Okorocha.
The state government had held on to its mantra of recovering state properties acquired illicitly, the former governor was said to have been marked as being in possession of such properties.
Trouble started when Okorocha reportedly led a group of aides and loyalists to the Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment on Sunday. The said property had been sealed by the Imo state government last Friday.
The former governor had allegedly destroyed the padlock to the gate and gained entrance into the estate, leading to a fracas between his camp and security agents in the state.
Photos from the incident also showed that a Lexus LX570 SUV and other vehicles bearing ‘Rochas Foundation College of Africa’ had been vandalised.
The Police Public Relation officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed to newsmen that the former governor was being detained at the Imo State Police Headquarters for taking laws into his hands.
After the former governor’s arrest, some hoodlums invaded the property and carted away valuables.
The Senior Special Assistant on Public Enlightenment to Governor Uzodinma, Prince Eze Ugochukwu, in a subsequent statement, said what Okorocha did amounted to an open show of shame.
“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 to the accusations, a media aide to Okorocha, Jones Onwuasoanya, said his boss did not break any law, adding that he was being witch-hunted by the state governor.
“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.”