There was pandemonium on Thursday night in Owerri, the Imo State capital, when armed youths attached to the Imo State Committee on Recovery of Government property invaded a shopping mall (House of Freeda) owned by daughter of former Governor Rochas Okorocha. The youths said they were looking for government property.
Property and merchandise allegedly belonging to the government were taken away. No fewer than six workers in the complex were injured in the invasion that was supervised by Chairman of the Committee, Jasper Ndubuaku.
According to eyewitnesses, the fierce looking youths, aided by armed policemen, forced their way into the complex that houses several businesses owned by individuals not related to the former governor, and started carting away electronic appliances and other expensive items that were displayed for sale. One of the sales representatives, who didn’t want to be mentioned, alleged that the rampaging thugs also made away with N12.5 million cash.
One of the vehicles belonging to Reach FM, a radio station suspected to be owned by a member of the Okorocha’s family, was impounded and the driver beaten to stupor. It took the intervention of a detachment of policemen and soldiers to disperse the youths, but the vehicles loaded with the items were driven away.
But media aide to Governor Emeka Ihedioha, Steve Osuji, said the committee acted on a tip off who hinted that government vehicles and other items were parked in the complex.
According to him, the committee members, who were on official duty, were attacked by thugs hired by the owners of the complex, in an attempt to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate assignment.
Efforts to get Ndubuaku were not successful as at last night.