Listen to article
The detained former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare the invasion of his residence by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission illegal and unconstitutional and also order his immediate release.
Okorocha, who is the lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, also demanded N1bn damages from the Federal Government for the May 24, 2022 invasion of his Abuja residence.
The EFCC and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), were listed as first and second respondents at the fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Dr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
With the engagement of the services of Ozekhome, Okorocha now has five Senior Advocates of Nigeria to defend him.
Ozekhome’s suit came some hours after his appearance before a Federal High Court in Abuja where he pleaded not guilty to the N2.9bn corruption charges brought against him by the EFCC.
Ozekhome wants a declaration that the siege on Okorocha’s residence at No.3 Nyasa Close, Mississippi, off Ontario Crescent on May 24 2022, without any legal justification, thereby denying him his constitutional right to privacy, was illegal.
He also wants an order of the court directing the respondents to tender apology in at least three national newspapers.
Earlier, Okorocha was, in the 17 counts, accused of diverting N2.9bn from Imo State Government House Accounts and that of Imo State Local Government Joint accounts to private companies.
The alleged offence was said to have been perpetrated by Okorocha and one Anyim Inyerere with the use of their private companies between 2014 and 2016 when he held sway as the Governor of Imo State.
Although he denied all the charges, Okorocha has however engaged the services of Okey Amaechi (SAN), Solomon Umor (SAN), Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) to defend him.
Shortly after the taking of plea, EFCC counsel, Gbolahan Latona asked the judge for an adjournment to enable him to assemble his witnesses that will testify during trial.
He informed the court that 15 witnesses have been arranged to testify him and that most of the witnesses are outside the court jurisdiction because of the peculiar nature of the charge.
Okorocha’s counsel, Okey Amaechi, told the court that he had filed application for bail of his client and had also served same on the EFCC.
He attempted to argue the application but was opposed by the anti-graft agency which claimed that it intends to file counter affidavit against the bail issued.
Although, the EFCC lawyer sought adjournment to June 1 for arguments on bail, Justice Ekwo ruled that he would take all the bail applications on May 31 and directed EFCC to file its opposition within time.
Justice Inyang Ekwo subsequently ordered Okorocha’s further detention till May 31 when his bail application would be argued.