By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking an order to restrain security agencies in the country from arresting him.
Okorocha told the court that some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, led by its Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, are instigating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to move against him.
Consequently, he prayed the court to enforce his fundamental human rights which he said was under threat.
Cited as respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector General of Police, the Department of State Service, the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Okorocha told the court that his travail started after he opposed the emergence of some persons as leaders of the ruling APC.
He said his adversaries in the party had since instigated the EFCC to hound him and his family members, saying they were equally behind the reason the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, refused to issue him with a certificate of return after being declared the winner of the last election in lmo West Senatorial District.
The two fundamental right suits he filed before the court were marked as FHC/ABJ/CS/474/19 and FHC/ABJ/CS/475/19.
Okorocha told the court that he has, “found himself in a politically adversarial position to some powerful members of the APC over the choice of the national officers of the party before and since the convention of the party was conducted to elect new national officers of the APC”.
He said: “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 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 into state government In a bid to find some material 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.
“Sometime in May 2017 the 4th respondent, acting in furtherance of the plan of the applicant’s political enemies, invaded the applicant’s house in Jos, Plateau State and while holding his staff and family members hostage ransacked the entire house in the hope to find something incriminating against the applicant.
“The matter became a subject of litigation in the Jos division of this honourable court over the validity of the search warrant the 4th respondent relied on for that invasion and although the court found that the search warrant was valid, it also confirmed at page 22 of the judgment, based on the admission of the 4th respondent, that nothing incriminating was found against the applicant.
“Rather than give up their pursuit of the applicant, the respondents acting on the instigation of the applicant’s enemies, have continued the vendetta against the applicant.
“Upon the conclusion of the senatorial election held on the February 23rd 2019 into the national assembly, the applicant was duly elected as senator to represent Imo West Senatorial District by the majority of lawful votes cast in the election.
“The applicant’s political adversaries within the APC were embittered by the applicant’s victory at the polls and have sworn to ensure that the applicant is either not sworn in as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or is removed for not fulfilling the constitutional minimum attendance requirements.
“In this regard, they instigated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withhold the applicant’s certificate of return on the unfounded allegation that the Returning Officer was coerced to declare the applicant the winner of the election.
“Not satisfied with the withholding of the applicant’s certificate of return, those powerful forces with the APC have commenced fresh spate of attacks against the applicant on the baseless allegation that he embezzled the funds belonging to Imo state government in order to ensure that the applicant is politically decimated.
“The plan has now reached a crescendo and desperation in view of the failure of the respondents to find anything incriminating against the applicant and the decision now taken is to arrest and detain the applicant as soon as he hands over power to the newly elected governor of Imo state on the 29tln of May 2019 and using the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, detain him indefinitely in order that cause may be found to have him removed from his seat as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to which he was recently elected.
“The plan has also been expanded to include a reign of terror against the applicant’s political, business associates and family members including his wife and children Uioma Rochas, Uju Rochas, Uchechi Rochas, Ahamefula Rochas, Amen Rochas, Amamchi Rochas, Uzoma Anwukah and Uche Nwosu.
“The applicant has not committed any offence to warrant the incessant threats of arrest, detention, the harassment and terror being unleashed upon him and his family.
“It is therefore important that this honourable court as the “Fundamental Rights Court” intervene to ensure that this abuse of power and misfeasance in public office by the respondents against the applicant is abated and the fundamental rights of the applicant to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, to liberty and freedom of movement are enforced.
“Unless this honourable court intervenes to enforce and/or secure the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental rights to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and to freedom of movement and liberty by making the orders sought in this application, the 1st to 6th respondents will be used by the applicant’s political adversaries for the purpose of their infringement as stated above.
“The applicant apprehends from the above that his fundamental rights and those of his staff, associates and family members are about to be infringed by the respondents in Abuja as soon as he commences his next assignment as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This honorable court has the power to grant the reliefs sought in this application to enforce the applicant’s fundamental human rights.