There was pandemonium in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Friday when a committee set up by the state governor to recover looted property clashed with relatives of the immediate past governor, Rochas Okorocha, on the premises of a building allegedly belonging to his wife, Nkechi.
Irate residents later besieged the secluded building in support of the state government.
The Committee on the Recovery of Moveable Asset, set up by the current Emeka Ihedioha administration, led by Jasper Ndubuaku, had earlier gone to the premises of the building to seal it.
But they met stiff resistance by some relatives of the ex-governor reportedly led by his daughter, Uloma, and some security personnel.
When the news filtered in, residents thronged the place in their numbers and threatened to burn down the property
The timely intervention of the state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, calmed the tension.
Most of the assets, including office equipment, furniture, school bags, kitchen appliances, generators, and other items marked with the inscription, ‘Imo State Government’ were stocked inside three warehouses and 15 containers in the building situated along Aba Road, Owerri.
Speaking with journalists at the scene, Mr Ndubuaku said that the committee acted on a tip-off backed by a court order to search and recover the alleged looted government properties.
He said that on their arrival, ”the ex-governor’s daughter with some security personnel tried to stop them but thereafter allowed the process to continue after being served the court order”.
Photos of “looted” properties
The opening of the warehouses and containers were done under the supervision of both parties, security agents and journalists.
The police commissioner directed that ‘samples’ of the alleged looted government properties be taken along, while both parties follow him to his office for proper documentation.
He ordered that the entire premises be sealed off while the police commenced an investigation into the matter.
Some residents who spoke at the scene commended the state government for its actions.
They wondered why the said premises was not among the ones recently sealed by the Economic and Financial Crime Commissions, (EFCC). They urged Mr Ihedioha and the anti-graft agency not to be blackmailed by propaganda.
Mr Okorocha had alleged witchhunt by the state government and the EFCC.