EFCC’s Arrest Of Okorocha Illegal, Says Legal Expert

The arrest of former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is considered illegal says a constitutional lawyer, Liborous Oshoma.
2 years ago
2 mins read

The arrest of former Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is considered illegal says a constitutional lawyer, Liborous Oshoma.

Oshoma made the assertion in a telephone interview with TVC while pointing out the legal implication of the arrest of the senator who is also a presidential aspirant under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).

The EFCC on Tuesday, arrested Senator Okorocha at his Abuja residence on the day of APC screening. Okorocha who initially resisted arrest until the EFCC operatives forcefully entered and whisked him away, claimed that he was not issued a warrant of arrest and was also not previously invited by the commission and he refused to honour it.

The lawyer condemned the manner in which the anti-graft agency arrested the former governor, pointing out that there were two valid court orders restraining the EFCC operatives from arresting the senator.

Oshoma said since there was no formal invitation extended to the senator from the EFCC, he did not deserve to be treated in that manner. He suggested that the commission should have explored the option of sending a letter of invitation to the senator’s place of residence or even through his lawyer.

On the other hand, he blamed the senator for displaying what he called an act of cowardice by not presenting himself for the arrest and then letting his lawyer do the needful.

In his words, “even though I also blame Rochas Okorocha for pulling himself up in the house as if an unknown gunmen came to attack him. Because already you know that EFCC operatives were in your house why you don’t be a bold and brave man like Ayo Fayose who paid attention to the demands of the operatives that were already at his residence?

“I quite do not also agree with the approach of the EFCC. It is Rochas Okorocha today, yes. He is a public enemy. He is a former governor who allegedly stole money. But if we encourage this kind of commando-like attitude. It can be you and I tomorrow and nobody will hear about it.”

A statement from the senator’s lawyer showed that there was no letter of invitation or notice extended to him. He was granted administrative bail and it was paramount that the EFCC followed the due process.

“You see, anytime the EFCC grants administrative bail, they tell you to begin to report at least once a month. If you do not report they will issue you notice or arrange a date for arraignment and ask you to come and you will go to court,” the lawyer stated.

According to him, you use the law to checkmate the law. Force as seen practiced in other societies is only applied when affecting arrest while the criminal act is ongoing and, in some cases, where there are people who consistently invade arrest. In this scenario, there was no proof of the senator consistently invading arrest from the EFCC.

As proof, he added, “EFCC also should have shown this is the letter we served on him, inviting him to come and he refused to come. This is the notice we sent to him inviting him for an arraignment and he refused to come.”

“In other societies, there are methods and mechanisms of checkmating the excesses of law enforcement officers, but here there is no mechanism for checkmating their excesses. So, let us not encourage that no matter how minute the excesses are; let us not encourage that,” Oshoma advised.

The constitutional lawyer further added that the law should be allowed to take its course.

He noted that allegations and sentiments were beginning to build up that it was politically motivated. If not, why didn’t they come a day before the APC screening? Nigerians are beginning to compare the arrest of Senator Rochas Okorocha to that of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris.

He concludes that politicians should be mindful of how they handle public resources so as not to find themselves in a scenario like this.


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