The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has after hours of siege, finally arrested former Imo State governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha.
Okorocha was arrested Tuesday evening at his Maitama home in Abuja by the anti-graft agency and men of the Nigerian Police force.
Though the security operatives met stiff resistance from the supporters of the former governor, live bullets and tear gas were fired before he could be arrested.
His aides said the EFCC and policemen broke into the house and damaged parts of it and some items in the house while trying to forcibly arrest the former governor.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement said the move followed the refusal of the former governor 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 N2.9billion against Okorocha.
“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja but the attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha were 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 that it was “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 Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial”, he stated.
But the former governor described the siege on his home by the EFCC as an ugly development that does not portray those involved in good light.
He said the Commission’s invasion was to stop him from attending the APC presidential screening, which he said was ongoing.
Okorocha also explained that no formal invitation was extended to him, before the EFCC raid.
“All I am asking is to be allowed to go for my screening because I am a presidential aspirant and our election comes up on Sunday. If I am not allowed to go for this screening, I might miss it,” Okorocha said.
“I am not an unknown person in the country. I have an address and people know me in the country. All that it takes for the EFCC is to send me an invitation and I will gladly oblige.”
Earlier counsel to Okorocha Ola Olanipekun (SAN), described the attempt by the EFCC to arrest the Senator without a search warrant as a violation of his Fundamental Human Rights.
He said, “I got a distress call that the Rochas family is under siege and as the lead counsel who is handling all the matters that are in Court concerning this matter.
“I got here and I met a detachment of EFCC officers and security men and they are led by investigation officers who are family to us the legal team in this matter.
Olanipekun said he was told that the EFCC officials came to arrest Okorocha because “the Director Operations want to have a meeting with his excellency former Governor and Distinguish Senator Rochas Okorocha.”
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