Senator Rochas Okorocha representing Imo West in Nigerian Senate who was arrested and detained by Imo Police Sunday evening has been released.
This was as South-East Governors’ Forum waded into the feud between him, the immediate past Imo State governor, and his successor, Hope Uzodinma.
Okorocha was arrested when fracas broke between his aides and security agents over the government’s sealing of Royal Spring Palm Hotel belonging to his wife, Nkechi.
Both the police spokesperson in the state, Ikeokwu Orlando, and Senator Okorocha’s personal aide, Ebere Nzewuji, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the senator was released on Sunday night.
The Chairman of the forum, David Umahi, in a statement signed by his media aide, Francis Nwaze, on Monday, said that the forum was “already handling the issue” between Senator Okorocha and Governor Uzodinma.
Mr Umahi, the governor of Ebonyi State, said contacts have already been made to resolve the feud and assured that both parties have agreed to a truce.
“South-east leaders are capable of settling their disputes internally instead of washing their linen in public.
“We sue for calm among the supporters of both leaders to ensure a timely and amicable resolution of the disagreement,” the statement said.
Mr Umahi urged Imo residents to conduct their businesses peacefully and in accordance with the law.
However, a mild drama played out Monday in Magistrate Court in Owerri, Imo State as one of the 14 suspects arraigned before the court slumped.
Darlington Ibekwe and 13 other loyalists of Senator Rochas Okorocha were arraigned for breaking into the sealed Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartments owned by Okorocha’s wife.
Ibekwe was, however, revived by his fellow suspects, who pleaded for water with which he was revived.
The suspects were accused of conspiring among themselves to disobey a lawful order issued by the state by removing the seal of the state government and entering into the sealed property.
Magistrate Court, Owerri on Monday granted 14 aides of the former governor of the state, Senator Okorocha, N5 million each totaling N70 million.
Those arraigned with Ibekwe included Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom and Ekpendu Peace.
Others were Nev F. Raphael, Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechifulam, and Olu Chizoba.
When the magistrate, B. U. Adikaibe, returned to the courtroom for her ruling, a suspect, Ibekwe, slumped.
After the incident, the court had without delay given its ruling by granting all 14 accused person bail with N5 million each totaling N70 million, a condition the court said must be fulfilled before they would regain their freedom.
Earlier, Police prosecutor, Omo-Osagie M. A. had told the court that Okorocha’s former appointees, Lasbery Okaforanyanwu, Ijeoma Igboanusi, and his sons-in-law, Uche Nwosu and Dr. Uzoma Anwuka, were at large.
He accused Ibekwe of publishing a recorded defamatory matter on social media with the intent to injure the reputation of the state government and the person of Governor Hope Uzodimma by exposing him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and damage his reputation.
The police prosecutor also said the police have charged Olu Chizoba with unlawful possession of a double-barrel pump action gun without license.
After a six-count charge was read to the suspects, council to the defendants, Eddy Onyema, sought their bail, assuring that they would return to the court to take their trial.
Onyema noted that none of the charges against the defendants was a capital offence, said, “worst, some of them are felonies. That’s why we’re seeking their bail”.