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EFCC operatives storm Okorocha’s Abuja residence, arrest him

By Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri, Kanayo Umeh, Abuja, Sodiq Omolaoye and Kanayo Umeh (Abuja)
25 May 2022   |   3:20 am
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arrested the former Imo State governor and presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha, at his Maitama, Abuja residence.

Accuses him of jumping bail
• Supporters kick

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arrested the former Imo State governor and presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha, at his Maitama, Abuja residence.

Though the security operatives met stiff resistance from the supporters of the former governor, tear gas was fired to disperse them to effect the arrest.

The anti-graft agency said it laid siege to the home of the former governor to arrest him, accusing him of jumping bail granted him by the commission.

EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement, said the move followed the refusal of Okorocha to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the commission.

According to Uwujaren, the EFCC had, on January 24, 2022, filed a 17-count criminal charge, bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9 billion, against Okorocha.

“The case was assigned to Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja; but attempts to arraign Okorocha was twice stalled, owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes.

“At the last adjourned date, March 28, 2022, Justice Ekwo, before adjourning until May 30, 2022, had warned, saying: “This is the last adjournment I shall grant in this matter.

“In the circumstances, the commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Okorocha and bring him to trial,” he stated.

MEANWHILE, admirers, political associates and relatives of the former governor have condemned the arrest.

As of press time, Okorocha’s Media Aide, Sam Onwuemedo, could not be reached; but an aide, who pleaded anonymity, noted that the operatives, who stormed the Senator’s residence, insisting on arresting him, were without any warrant.

According to the aide, the operation is targeted at stopping Okorocha from attending the APC presidential screening, noting that this is coming 48 hours after the former governor hosted other presidential aspirants from the South East, where they forged an alliance ahead of the presidential primary.

Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, Okorocha’s supporters and political associates, who spoke with The Guardian, queried the reasons for which the Senator should be arrested at this time.

Okorocha’s political supporters in Imo, many of whom called various private radio stations in Owerri, lamented that the timing for the arrest was wrong, as he was preparing for the presidential screening exercise, conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC).