Rochas Foundation College, Owerri, Imo State, belonging to the immediate new state governor, Rochas Okorocha, has been sealed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission operatives.
The anti-graft agency also closed the East High Primary and Secondary School, Owerri, which belongs to the first daughter of Okorocha, Uloma Nwosu. The All-In Supermarket Owerri, said to belong to an unidentified member of the Okorocha family, was also sealed.
Okorocha, who administered the state from 2011 to 2019, is presently in the National Assembly representing Imo West Senatorial District. An inscription tag, “Keep off under EFCC investigation,” was pasted to the buildings.
But the East High Primary and Secondary School management explained in a statement on Wednesday that the school was under investigation only and has not being sealed by the EFCC.
The statement, signed by one Jones Onwuasoanya, while agreeing that the EFCC had the constitutional authority to investigate the school, indicated that it was legitimate to use the funds used to establish the school.
However, Okorocha accused his successor, Emeka Ihedioha, of working with the EFCC to seal his investments in the state in a statement by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo.
He asserted that the anti-graft agency’s sealing of his assets was against a court order of competent jurisdiction.
The statement read in part, “Obviously, the People’s Democratic Party-led government in the state with Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governor and all the leaders of the PDP who felt Rochas Okorocha’s political displacement from 2011 to 2019 had come together to wage war against Rochas and his family.
“That’s why they needed INEC to declare their candidate winner even if the criteria were not met. Unfortunately, some agencies like the EFCC have been prompted to take some hasty measures after they flooded petitions.
“The strategy is our concern about the EFCC’s action. Before taking such action, there was no prior invitation to the management or proprietors of the schools and other institutions sealed by the commission as anticipated.
“To the best of our knowledge, these schools were not under the commission’s investigation. We had the impression that the sealing of the schools or any other structure, as the case may be, was based on the results of their investigations in which the management or the proprietors were also questioned.
“Sealing the colleges and other assets because they belong to the Rochas Okorocha’s family before investigation is what we find hard to comprehend, especially when most of these establishments preceded Rochas Okorocha’s governorship.”
The former governor specifically observed that the RFC existed for a long time before he went into politics, urging the commission to unseal it. He said the college’s pupils were mostly orphans enjoying free education and suffering from the action of the EFCC.
The statement added, “In Imo and in many federation states including Plateau, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Oyo, Bauchi and so on, the Rochas Foundation Colleges existed years before the governorship of Okorocha. And the EFCC may also go outside of Imo to seal the remainder of the colleges.”
“At the moment, what is going on in Imo is not governance. It’s a complete war against Rochas and his family, APC members, other party members, and opponents. They claim they want to make the state uncomfortable for opponents and they’re doing it with recklessness.
“It should also not be forgotten that there is a subsisting court order to this impact and we think that the commission’s office in Enugu is conscious of the court order in question as it concerns the commission and the investments made by Okorocha. The EFCC is a extremely responsible agency and our appeal is that it should not be incited against Okorocha and his family and that the court order in question should be similarly recognized.
“Senator Rochas Okorocha and his family firmly believe in the state and have moved most of their businesses to Owerri in contrast to those PDP bigwigs who do not enjoy the state, with all of them getting nothing to demonstrate that they have a stake in the state.”
But Ihedioha denied that they were the brains behind the buildings’ sealing.
Speaking to the press on Wednesday through his Chief Press Secretary, Chibuike Onyeukwu, Ihedioha said the allegation had no truth.
“The governor has no hand in sealing of Okorocha’s investments by EFCC,” he said. For the records, before this administration came on board on May 29, the EFCC had already begun its investigations against Rochas Okorocha.
“There is no truth the governor is involved in Rochas Okorocha’s witch-hunt. They should show evidence that this is being done by the governor. No one, including Rochas Okorocha, can deviate from his key mandate to rebuild the state to embark on the witch-hunt.
“If there’s any witch-hunt, it’s the state’s misgovernance that hunts him. The governor is focused and determined on rebuilding the state.”