…As court grants N70m bail to Okorocha’s aides
The South-East Governors Forum has waded into the impasse between the Imo government and the state’s former governor, Sen. Rochas Okorocha.
It would be recalled that a squabble ensued between both sides’ supporters on Feb. 21 when Okorocha allegedly broke into the Royal Spring Palm Apartment, Owerri, sealed by the Imo government on Feb. 19.
The situation was brought under control by the Imo Police Command, which later arrested the senator.
Chairman of the forum, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Francis Nwaze on Monday said that the forum was already handling the issue.
Umahi said that contacts have already been made to resolve the impasse and assured that both parties have agreed to a truce.
“South-east leaders are capable of settling their disputes internally instead of washing their linen in public.
“We sue for calm among the supporters of both leaders to ensure a timely and amicable resolution of the disagreement,’’ the statement read.
The forum’s chairman urged Imo and South-East citizens to conduct their business peacefully and according to the law.
“They should also shun provocative statements as we work towards restoring normalcy to the situation.”
In the meantime, an aide to Sen. Okorocha, Eberendu Chiimechefulem, his legislative aide, Steve Asinuobi and 12 others were arraigned before a magistrate’s court sitting in Owerri on Monday.
The 14 defendants were arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, breach of public peace, possession of firearms and unlawful destruction of the official seal of the Imo Government.
They were also charged with defamatory publication against the governor of the state with the intent to injure the reputation of the state government and the person of the state governor.
The defendants were arrested on Sunday, February 21, for allegedly breaking into a premises sealed by the state government.
The premises known as Royal Spring Palm Estate is said to be owned by the wife of Okorocha, Nkechi.
The presiding magistrate, B.U Adikaibe, who ruled on the bail application made for the release of the defendants, granted them bail to the tune of N5m each.
The magistrate also insisted that a traditional ruler in the state must stand in as a surety.
The other defendants were Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom, Ekpendu Peace, Nev F. Raphael, Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji and Olu Chizoba.