Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has accused the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, and other leaders of the party of instigating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other law enforcement agencies to arrest and detain him.
Okorocha stated this in two separate fundamental rights enforcement suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/474/19 and FHC/ABJ/CS/475/19 and filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, adding that the anti-corruption agencies had been directed to arrest and keep him in detention as soon as he handed over as governor on May 29.
He said he had received no fewer than 25 invitations from the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies “in purported investigation of projects executed by the state government in a bid to find some materials to justify their conclusion that he is guilty of corrupt practices.”
He added that the plan of the APC leaders had been “expanded to include a reign of terror against the applicant’s political, business associates and family members including his wife and children.”
According to him, his political and business associates, as well as family members, allegedly targeted by the said “reign of terror” are Uloma Rochas, Uju Rochas, Uchechi Rochas, Ahamefula Rochas, Amen Rochas, Amamchi Rochas, Uzoma Anwukah and Uche Nwosu.
Maintaining his innocence, the Imo governor stated that he did not commit any offence “to warrant the incessant threats of arrest, detention, the harassment and terror being unleashed upon him and his family.”
He urged the court to restrain the EFCC and other agencies from harrassing, intimidating and arresting him and his family members.
The defendants whom the plaintiff is seeking an order to restrain are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Services, the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, and the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The plaintiff accused his adversaries within the party as waging a vendetta war against him by instigating the agencies to harass him on the premise of a belief that he played a role in the EFCC’s alleged arrest of Oshiomhole last year.
He said Oshiomhole and the party leaders were behind the Independent National Electoral Commission’s withholding of his certificate of return which ought to be issued to him following his victory at the February 23, 2019 Imo West Senatorial District poll.
According to him, his travails started because he supported another candidate for the office of the National Chairman of APC against Oshiomhole.
An affidavit filed in support of the suit read in part, “The applicant had supported a candidate for the position of National Chairman of the APC other than the current incumbent, Mr Adams Oshiomhole and by reason of various events that occurred at the time, including the detention of Mr Adams Oshiomhole by the EFCC on allegations of corruption, it was assumed that the applicant was a party to that incident.
“Some of the supporters of Adams Oshiomhole at the time are currently very influential in the Federal Government of Nigeria which is controlled by the APC.
“These individuals, including the said current national chairman have decided to carry out a vendetta and revenge against the applicant, including instigating the respondents against the applicant upon their spurious conclusion without evidence that the applicant is guilty of corrupt practices as the governor of Imo State.
“The respondents, proceeding from this position that the applicant is guilty unless proved innocent, between 2017 and now, have extended not less than 25 invitations to the applicant in purported investigation of projects executed by the state government in a bid to find some materials to justify their conclusion that he is guilty of corrupt practices.
“This witch-hunt is clearly politically motivated, baseless, and has been designed only to discredit and humiliate the applicant in a bid to decimate him politically.”
Responding to the suit, the DSS, through its counter- affidavits filed on its behalf by G. O. A. Agbadua, faulted Okorocha’s claims and denied planning to arrest either the governor or members of his family.
The DSS said it was not aware or part of any plan to arrest the Okorochas.
Its counter-affidavit read in part, “The 3rd respondent (DSS) did not meet with the Independent National Electoral Commission concerning the applicant.
“The 3rd respondent has not invited the applicant or any member of his family and/or staff for investigation.”
The rest of the respondents have yet to file their defence.
The matter has been slated for hearing before Justice Taiwo Taiwo on May 22.