Hell was let loose in Imo State, yesterday as former governor of the state, Chief Rochas Okorocha allegedly led a team of thugs to forcefully reclaim his wife’s Royal Palm Apartment Estate, recently sealed by the state government.
The estate was on Friday sealed by government delegation led by Commissioner for Lands, Enyinnaya Onuegbu who said government was implementing the report of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on land use which recommended recovery of the estate and possible demolition, having been built on a government land which is also a Green Verge.
However the altercation that ensued when Okorocha’s team met face to face with the government team later resulted to the arrest of the former governor and some of his former appointees who accompanied him to the estate.
Our correspondents who were at the scene of the incident, reported that Okorocha and his men attempted to escape when they got hint of the plan to arrest them, but were pursued by security men who shot sporadically into the air and later arrested them.
A man who was said to be the Aid De Camp (ADC) of Okorocha when he was governor was arrested when Okorocha and other allies had been conveyed on a Police Hilux Van to the state Police headquarters. He was seen holding his cloth over his head, apparently preventing blood rush from a broken skull.
The allies who were arrested alongside Okorocha, included; former commissioner for transportation, Lasbrey OkaforAnyanwu, former transition committee chairman of Orlu Local Government Area, Ijeoma Igboanusi and former Special Adviser to Governor on Lagos Liaison Office, Steve Asimobi. Two in-laws of Okorocha, Dr. Uzo Anwuka and Ugwumba Uche Nwosu who also accompanied him on the operation were still being searched for at the point of filing this report.
The thugs, who reportedly came with Okorocha, were alleged to have shot at government team comprising of Police, Army and thugs, resulting to exchange of fire between them.
They were said to have ran away when they noticed a superior firing power and overwhelming number of the government team. There were unconfirmed report of death of two and serious injuries to five others.
Reacting to the development, the spokesman of Imo State Police command, SP Ikeokwu Orlando, said the command received a distress call of violent unrest at Royal Spring Estate and mobilized men who went to bring the situation under control.
He said on investigation it was discovered that the violence was caused by an attempt by Senator Okorocha to forcefully reclaim the estate sealed by the state government.
The PPRO said the command invited Okorocha for questioning on reason he broke into an estate sealed by the state government, adding that the commissioner of Police has ordered full investigation into the matter and if found culpable, the command will not hesitate to arraign the former governor in court for prosecution.
In his reaction, Special Adviser (Media) to the former Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Sam Onwuemeodo noted that thugs, armed to teeth with knives and guns 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”.
“Okorocha has the strongest political structure in the state and teeming followers in the State. If he had expected the attacked, 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”, the release read.