FACT CHECK: Did APC Hold Presidential Screening As Okorocha Claimed During EFCC Siege
By Stephen Onda
A presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rochas Okorocha while speaking with journalists at his Maitama residence on Tuesday, claimed he was under seige and being prevented from going for his screening in Abuja.
The ex-governor spoke in response to the invasion of his residence located at 3 Nyasa Close, off Ontario Crescent, off Mississippi Street, Maitama, Abuja, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He said, “Frankly speaking, the situation I find myself is a situation of what I call hostage. Policemen and EFCC operatives are currently in my compound and they want to possibly whisk me away… my gate is blocked.
“All I am asking for now is to allow me to go for my screening because I am a presidential aspirant and our election comes up on Sunday. If I am not allowed to go for this screening, I might miss it.
“I am not an unknown person in the country. I have an address and people know me in the country. All what it takes for the EFCC is to send me an invitation and I will gladly oblige.”
But did APC screen presidential aspirants on Tuesday?
Checks by this Daily Trust revealed that APC National Publicity Secretary, Barr. Felix Morka, had in a statement posted via the party’s official Twitter handle, @OfficialAPCNg on Sunday announced the indefinite postponement of the screening exercise which was initially scheduled to hold on Monday.
He said, “The Screening Exercise for Presidential Aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) earlier scheduled to be held on Monday, May 23rd, 2022, is hereby postponed.
“A new date for the exercise will be announced shortly. Any inconveniences caused is deeply regretted.”
Relying on the statement by the party and the events that unfolded on Tuesday, it was confirmed that the presidential screening is yet to hold and no new date had been fixed for the exercise.
Therefore, the claim by Okorocha that he was prevented by the anti-graft agency from attending the screening is false and misleading.
Also, Okorocha said he would have honoured EFCC’s invitation, implying that he was not invited. But the EFCC in a statement released by its Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, countered Okorocha’s claim.
He said the lawmaker had refused to honour several invitations extended to him by the Commission, hence the raid.
The statement read, “Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today May 24, 2022, arrived at the Maitama, Abuja home of a former governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha, to effect his arrest.
“The move followed the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the Commission.
“In the circumstances, the Commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial.”
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