Several gunshots were fired as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) finally arrested Senator Rochas Okorocha from his residence after a siege on his residence that lasted more than six hours.
The agency forcefully broke into the residence after laying siege on the premises for several hours to arrest the presidential aspirants.
The EFCC had also insisted that journalists must leave the premises, forcefully ejecting everyone in the residence. The EFCC operatives also used teargas to disperse journalists from the scene.
Recall that the EFCC had arrived at Okorocha’s residence located at 3 Nyasa Close, off Ontario Crescent, Off Mississippi Street, Maitama, Abuja, to effect his arrest on Tuesday.
Reacting to the development in an interview with Channels TV, Okorocha said he is unaware of the reason the commission invaded his residence, adding that he was not invited nor questioned before the incident. He added that the men of the anti-graft agency invaded his residence without a warrant of arrest.
According to him, the siege was politically motivated as it was to prevent him from attending the screening of All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential aspirants scheduled to hold Tuesday.
“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.
“Frankly speaking, the situation I find myself in is a situation of what I call hostage-taking. Policemen and EFCC operatives are currently in my compound and possibly whisking me away, my gate is blocked.
“All I am asking for now is to allow me 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,” he was quoted to have said.
However, EFCC, in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren clarified that it stormed the residence of the former Governor after he refused to honour invitations.
The anti-graft agency said Okorocha had jumped an administrative bail granted to him and stalled the court case slammed against him before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The commission further added that it was left with no option but to storm the former governor’s residence and arrest him to continue his trial at the court.
The statement reads, “Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today May 24, 2022, arrived at the Maitama, Abuja home of a former governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha, to effect his arrest.
“The move followed the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the Commission.
“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 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 28th, 2022, Justice Ekwo before adjourning until May 30th, 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.”
Recall also that Okorocha is currently being investigated by the EFCC over allegations that he conspired with some individuals to steal N2.9 billion from the public coffers.
EFCC had filed a 17-count charge against the two-time governor of Imo State at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He was alleged to have diverted several funds between October 2014 and February 2016 from the Imo State Government House account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project account.