Richard Ginika Izuora
The Patrons Association of Imo Oil Producing Communities (PIOPC) has appealed the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to intervene in the arrest and detention of a member of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hercules Okoro for allegedly fighting inside the Imo State Government House.
The plea was made by PIOPC Chairman, Chief David Mbachu, in Lagos on Monday.
Chief Mbachu stated that the release of the lawmaker has become necessary to avert a breakdown of law and order.
Okoro, a member of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, represents Ohaji/Egbema in the Imo State Assembly. He was originally elected on the platform of Action Alliance (AA) before defecting to the APC.
He was allegedly arrested and detained last Friday following a fracas that broke out between him and his colleagues at the Government House, Owerri.
The issue had to do with the impeachment of the former Speaker of the Assembly; Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins.
The PIOPC also issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Police on Monday demanding Okoro’s immediate release.
Mbachu said that oil producing communities in the State would use all legal means to secure the release of Okoro; whom, he said was being victimised for siding with the impeached Speaker of the House.
The Imo House of Assembly had impeached the Speaker, Collins; also a member of the APC representing Isiala Mbano, last Friday. Thereafter, he was promptly replaced with Paul Emeziem (APC, Onuimo).
In a statement issued last Saturday, Senior Special Assistant to Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma on New and Electronic Media; Mrs Nneamaka Okafor, confirmed Okoro’s arrest for fighting inside the premises of Government House.
She alleged that Okoro was in the Government House to fight when his colleagues were presenting the new Speaker to the governor.
However, the claim was refuted by the PIOPC chairman.
The PIOPC chairman said Okoro was invited to the Government House by his colleagues and upon arrival; he was attacked and beaten up.
Mbachu argued that if it was true that Okoro was at the Government House to fight; those with whom he fought ought to have been arrested also.