From George Onyejiuwa and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Former Imo Governor, Rochas Okorocha, was yesterday arrested by the police for breaking into Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartments Estate, alleged to be owned by his wife, Nneoma.
Also arrested were his former aides, Lasbery Okaforanyanwu, Commissioner for Transport; Ijeoma Igboanusi, Chief of Staff on Domestic Affairs and Steve Asimobi, currently his aide at the National Assembly. It was learnt that Mr. Uche Nwosu, in-law to Okorocha fled through the back of the hotel to evade arrest.
Spokesperson for the state Police Command, Orlando Ikeokwu, said the ex-governor was arrested for breaking into the facility which is situated along Akachi Road in Owerri metropolis.
The facility was on Friday sealed by the state government as recommended by a judicial panel of inquiry on recovery of government lands appropriated by officials of past administrations in the state.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said Okorocha would be arraigned in court as soon as possible for the breach.
When Daily Sun visited the estate, police and officials of the state government led by Chinasa Nwaneri, Special Adviser (Special Duties) to Governor Hope Uzodimma were trying to dislodge Okorocha and his supporters from the estate.
“Okorocha stormed the sealed estate with a retinue of his former aides and thugs and broke into the premises. It took over an hour for the police and officials of the state government to drag Senator Okorocha out as he had hid in one of the buildings in the expensive estate; they bundled him into one of the Toyota Hilux vehicles,” a witness told Daily Sun.
Okorocha, however, alleged he was attacked by thugs sent by Governor Uzodimma.
The former governor, who reacted through his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo said: “More than 1,000 thugs, armed to teeth with knives and guns and led by Chinasa Nwaneri, Governor Hope Uzodinma’s Special Adviser on Special Duties with the backing of armed policemen from Government House, attacked Okorocha’s convoy and damaged all vehicles in my convoy.
“They also attacked his personal aides. Okorocha has never been a violent man. This planned attack, unprovoked and unwarranted, has opened a new, but ugly chapter in the politics of the state. We shall react fully to the situation. This is the information we can give as at now. We are still watching events as they unfold.”