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Imo govt takes Okorocha to court for break-in

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By Olisemeka Obeche & Chukwuemerie Anyene

Former Imo governor and senator representing Imo West senatorial zone, Mr Rochas Okorocha, was on Monday arraigned before a Magistrate Court, Owerri alongside 13 others for breaking into a government-sealed property.

Okorocha was dragged before the court for breaking into the Royal Spring Palm apartments and hotels, said to be owned by his wife, Nkechi Okorocha, alongside his foot soldiers on Sunday. Also arrested were his former deputy chief of staff (domestics), Ijeoma Igboanusi, and his former commissioner for transportation, Lasbrey Okafor-Anyanwu.

Imo state police public relations officer, Ikeokwu Orlando, had earlier issued a statement confirming that the ex-governor was in police custody. “We invited Senator Okorocha to the command to say what he knows about forcefully breaking into the premises. He is still in our custody,” Orlando said.

Following a brief appearance in court on Monday, the chief magistrate granted Okorocha and 13 other defendants bail, before adjourning the case to March 18, 2021 for trial. The court presided over by the chief magistrate, Court 4, D. U Adikaibe, Owerri in Imo state, also slammed N5 million fine on each of the accused persons. Other condition attached to their bail was that each of the accused persons would provide a prominent traditional ruler to sign for their surety.

Orient Daily gathered that the Imo state commissioner for lands, survey and physical planning development, Enyinnaya Onuegbu, had, last Friday, announced the sealing of the exotic Royal Palm Estate by the state government.

Soon after the news reached him, Senator Okorocha was said to have rallied his supporters, policemen, soldiers and security and Civil Defence Corps and, on Sunday, headed to unseal the property. Officials of Imo government also mobilised to the estate where the two parties clashed, leaving some persons injured and vehicles damaged.

Okorocha’s media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, later blamed the special adviser to the Imo governor on special duties, Mr Chinasa Nwaneri, for the fracas. Onwuemedo claimed that Nwaneri led thugs and police from Government House to attack Okorocha and his aides, damaging vehicles in the senator’s convoy.

Imo state government, however, dismissed Okorocha’s aide’s allegations as baseless with a media aide to the governor, Mr Oguike Nwachukwu, saying, rather, that the government had locked the park because of stolen items. He wondered why Senator Okorocha went with his supporters to break the lock and enter the premises by force. Nwachukwu pointed out that it was the duty of police to ensure people obeyed laws of the land.

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