GOVERNOR Rochas Okorocha has filed a suit with the federal high court in Abuja seeking the protection of his fundamental rights saying that his political adversaries are denying him his certificate of return as the duly elected senator for Imo West Senatorial District.
During Nigeria’s last elections, outgoing Governor Okorocha stood as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Imo West Senatorial District and was originally declared the winner. However, the returning officer revealed that the governor had forced him to declare the results under duress and as such the Independent national Electoral Commission (Inec) declared the polls inconclusive.
Since then, Governor Okorocha has been the subject of a lot of controversy as he has been suspended from the APC and opposition politicians in Imo State have accused him of trying to empty the treasury before he leaves on May 29. Claiming that his political adversaries were behind his current travails, Governor Okorocha has gone to court accusing his adversaries of instigating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies against him and members of his family.
Respondents in the suit include the attorney-general of the federation, the inspector-general of police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Governor Okorocha also blamed the said political adversaries over Inec’s failure to issue him with a certificate of return after being declared winner in lmo West Senatorial District.
Governor Okorocha suit read: “Not satisfied with the withholding of the applicant’s certificate of return, those powerful forces have commenced a fresh spate of attacks against the applicant on the baseless allegation that he embezzled the funds belonging to Imo state government. The plan has now reached a crescendo and desperation in view of the failure of the respondents to find anything incriminating against the applicant.
“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 on May 29 and using the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, detain him indefinitely. This is in order that cause may be found to have him removed from his seat as a senator 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. It is therefore important that this court as the fundamental rights court intervenes to ensure that this abuse of power and misfeasance in public office by the respondents against the applicant is abated.
”It is also important to ensure that the fundamental rights of the applicant to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, to liberty and freedom of movement are enforced. Unless this 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 first to sixth respondents will be used by the applicant’s political adversaries for the purpose of their infringement as stated above.”
In the suit, Governor Okorocha said that he had not committed any offence to warrant the incessant threats of arrest, detention, the harassment and terror being unleashed upon him and his family. In a counter affidavit, however, the DSS said it was not aware and not part of any plan to arrest and/or detain Governor Okorocha over any alleged investigation.
“The DSS did not meet with Inec concerning the applicant and has not invited the applicant or any member of his family and/or staff for investigation. Where there is a course to commence any investigation whatsoever against any person including the applicant, the DSS follows legal procedures in conducting such an investigation,” the service’s legal representative said.
However, the DSS stated in its counter affidavit that the applicant could not stop security and law enforcement agencies from conducting investigations.