Agents of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday stormed the Rochas Foundation College in Owerri, the Imo State capital owned by former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha and sealed the school.
Also sealed were his radio station, Reach FM, Royal Spring Palm Hotel and All-in-One Shopping Mall among others.
According to the Special Adviser on Media to the former governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, the officials breezed into the premises of the school at about 6 am with a van loaded with armed military and mobile policemen.
According to Onwuemeodo, the commission also sealed the East High College and Academy, Owerri, owned by Okorocha’s daughter and wife of the Action Alliance (AA) governorship candidate in the state, Uloma Nwosu.
Onwuemeodo in a press statement narrating the incident said: “The action of EFCC with the presence of heavily-armed military and police mobile personnel frightened the students and most of them began to cry. It was a sympathetic scenario.”
However, Okorocha has accused the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of instigating the sealing of the properties.
He said: “What is obvious is that the PDP government in the state with Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor and all the PDP chieftains who felt politically displaced from 2011 to 2019 by Rochas Okorocha had come together to launch war against Rochas and his family and APC members. And that was why they needed INEC to declare their candidate winner even when he didn’t meet the requirement.
“Unfortunately, they have instigated certain agencies like EFCC into taking some hasty actions following a flood of petitions by them,” Okorocha said.
He further stated: “Our concern about the action of the EFCC is the approach. There was no prior invitation to the managements or proprietors of the colleges and other establishments sealed by the commission as expected before such action.
“To the best of our knowledge too, these colleges have not been under the investigation of the commission. We have had the feeling that the sealing of the colleges or any other structure as the case maybe would have been based on the outcome of their investigation in which the managements or the proprietors would have also been interrogated.
“Sealing of the colleges and other properties because they belong to Rochas Okorocha’s family before investigation is what is difficult for us to comprehend especially when most of these establishments had preceded the governorship of Rochas Okorocha.
Further, he explained that the Rochas Foundation colleges had existed in Imo and in several states of the federation including Plateau, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Oyo, Bauchi and so on, years before he became the governor of the state in 2011.
Okorocha said he wondered why the EFCC had not gone to other states the school is also situated to seal them up.
He however said that “what is happening in Imo at the moment is not governance. It is a total war against Rochas and his family, APC members, members of other parties and opponents. They said they want to make the state uncomfortable for opponents and they are doing it with recklessness.
“It should also not be forgotten that there is a subsisting court order to this effect. And we believe that the commission’s office in Enugu is aware of the court order in question as it concerns the commission and Okorocha’s investments. The EFCC is a highly responsible institution and our appeal is that it should not be incited against Okorocha and family and should equally take cognizance of the court order in question.
“Senator Rochas Okorocha and family believe strongly in the state and have relocated most of their businesses to Owerri unlike these PDP bigwigs who do not love the state, with all of them having nothing to show that they have a stake in the state.
“We want to appeal to the EFCC to unseal the colleges and other ventures they had sealed pending the outcome of the investigation they said they have begun and also consider the stand of the court of competent jurisdiction on the issue.
“The students of the colleges, most of them without parents, cannot be allowed to suffer because of the action of a wicked government in the state. It is not all about Rochas Okorocha and the family, but about humanity and posterity,” Okorocha lamented.