Aides to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha, have clashed again over the seizure of some properties belonging to the ex-governor by the state government.
However, Okorocha’s spokesperson, Sam Onwuemeodo, said Uzodinma would not win what he called an “attrition” war against the former governor.
According to Onwuemeodo, the interim court injunction, ordering the forfeiture of Okorocha’s properties would not stand.
In a statement on Friday, Onwuemeodo said the court order issued by Justice Fred Njemanze of the state High Court was “deceitful.”
Onwuemeodo alleged that the jurist was deceived by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cyprian Akaolisa, into granting the order.
He said, “On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, the Imo State Government, with Chief Hope Uzodinma as Governor, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief C.O.C, Akaolisa, deceived one of the most thorough and highly respected judges in the state judiciary, Hon Justice Fred Njemanze, into granting an interim order of forfeiture of the 10 properties they listed and owned by Senator Rochas Okorocha’s family.
“Let us first and foremost describe the interim order of forfeiture as belated, an after-thought and deceitful. It has further exposed the double standard of what we have in Imo today as a state government and equally strengthened our consistent claim that what is happening in Imo is a clear case of vendetta, envy, hatred and conspiracy by the state government against Okorocha and his family.”
Reacting, Uzodinma’s Senior Special Assistant on Print Media, Modestus Nwamkpa, said Okorocha should stop provoking the people of Imo State.
He said, “Okorocha and his people should stop provoking Imo people. He ruled for eight years here without respecting any court order.
“It is an insult to assert that an erudite jurist like Justice Njemanze was deceived into granting the court order.”
Okorocha had on Sunday alleged that Uzodinma attacked him with “more than 1,000 thugs.”
The former governor and three of his political associates had been arrested by the state police command after government and security officials stormed the Royal Spring Palm Estate, Owerri, and unsealed it.
The estate was linked to Okorocha’s wife, Nkechi.
The state government said its action was in accordance with a report of a judicial panel set up by a former governor, Emeka Ihedioha, before he left office.
Meanwhile, the Imo State government said that emotional sentiments would not stop the state government from going on with the assets recovery fight.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said there were evidences of how Okorocha allegedly diverted the property of the state.
He said, “The state government is talking about Imo people’s property appropriated by former governor Rochas Okorocha with evidence. If you steal someone’s property it does not make it yours.
“So the government is talking of property stolen from the Imo people. The white paper is on sale at the office of the Secretary to the State Government. Interested members of the public should go there and purchase one.
“A judicial commission of inquiry with a gazetted white paper has the force of law and it is recognised in our statute books. Imo people know that Okorocha and his family looted their patrimony out of greed. They are resolved to recover them from them and no amount of white-washing or crying wolf will stop them from taking back what rightly belongs to them”