By Our Political Desk
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally arrested former Imo State governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha.
Okorocha was arrested Tuesday evening at his Maitama home in Abuja by the anti-graft agency and men of the Nigerian Police force.
Though the security operatives met stiff resistance from the supporters of the former governor, live bullets and tear gas were fired before he could be arrested.
His aides said the EFCC and policemen broke into the house and damaged parts of it and some items in the house while trying to forcibly arrest the former governor.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement said the move followed the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the Commission.
According to Uwujaren, the EFCC had on January 24, 2022, filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9billion against Okorocha.
“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja 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”, he stated.
But the former governor described the siege on his home by the EFCC as an ugly development that does not portray those involved in good light.
He said the Commission’s invasion was to stop him from attending the APC presidential screening, which he said was ongoing.
Okorocha also explained that no formal invitation was extended to him, prior to the EFCC 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. If I am not allowed to go for this screening, I might miss it,” Okorocha said.
“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.”
Our findings revealed that with this development,APC presidential aspirant Senator Rochas Okorocha’s presidential aspiration may be put in jeopardy as he ought to be screen on Wednesday.
Eagle Eye News24 reports that the Secretary of the All Progressives Party(APC), Suleiman Argungu, in Abuja has said the party will screen 28 presidential aspirants, though 25 submitted the nomination forms, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, four days to its convention where the party’s flag bearer would emerge.
Earlier on Sunday, the party had postponed the exercise for the second time after it failed to hold last weekend. But no reason was given for the change in plan. The party had previously fixed May 14 and 15 for the screening but it postponed the exercise and gave a new date of May 23 after aspirants for Senatorial and House of Representatives seats were screened.
Key aspirants that have submitted their forms include Vice President Yemi Osibanjo; APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu; ex-Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Minister of Niger Delta Development, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
Others are: Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade; his Ebonyi State counterpart, Dave Umahi; Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; ex-Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; Senator Ajayi Borofice and Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Similarly, Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello; his Jigawa State counterpart, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; ex-Zamfara State governor, Sen. Ahmed Yerima; former Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole are also not left out.