For evading court processes on his re-arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, former Imo State Governor and Senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, got a raw deal, Tuesday evening, as operatives of the anti-graft agency and the Nigeria Police Force shot live rounds, fired teargas and broke into his Maitama, Abuja house through the roof to effect his arrest
The operatives, according to reports, were allegedly rebuffed by supporters of Okorocha, who is also a presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The stiff resistance by the ex-governor’s supporters, the report further revealed, forced the security agents to fire live rounds and tear gas before he could be arrested.
Okorocha’s aides said the operatives broke into the house and damaged parts of it as well as some items as they tried to forcibly arrest the former Imo State governor.
But the EFCC spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the Commission had to resort to the measure following Okorochas’ refusal to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the agency.
The EFCC, Uwujaren recalled, 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 the senator.
“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, the EFCC spokesperson continued, “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.”
Reacting, Okorocha described the siege on his home by the EFCC as an ugly development that did not portray those involved in good light.
He said the Commission’s invasion was to stop him from attending the ongoing APC presidential screening, adding that no formal invitation was sent to him, prior to Tuesday’s 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,” he said. “If I am not allowed to go for this screening, I might miss it.”
“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.”
Counsel to Okorocha, Chief Ola Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, described the attempt by the EFCC to arrest the Senator without a search warrant as a violation of his Fundamental Human Rights.
“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,” he stated.
“I got here and I met a detachment of EFCC officers and security men and they are led by investigation officers who are familiar 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, wanted to have a meeting with his excellency former Governor and Distinguished Senator Rochas Okorocha.”