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Rochas Okorocha’s kindmen drag him to court over Eastern Palm University

Sen. Rochas Okorocha, former Governor, Imo State

..say university belong to Imo  people

Chidi Ogbuokiri

Orlu kinsmen of the former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha under the incorporated trustees of the Orlu Zurumee Youth Assembly (OZYA) and representatives of five autonomous communities in Ideato South LGA, have initiated a court action against former Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, over the alleged conversion of the Eastern Palm University to his private property.

This was disclosed to newsmen at a press conference on Saturday by the Education Committee Chairman of OZYA, Engr. Christian Okolie.

Also at the news briefing were representatives of land owners of the space upon which the said university was built.

Addressing the conference, the Education Committee chairman of the Orlu Zurumee Youth Assembly, Engr Christian Okolie said the body was praying the court for a declaration that the Eastern Palm University, which was built with state resources and all instrument of state power, is indeed a property of Imo people and as such the management and ownership should be reverted to the state government.

According to the group, the National Universities Commission (NUC) had approved the establishment the Eastern Palm University as the second state university in Imo State; 47th state university in Nigeria and 143rd Nigerian university.

The group regretted that after building the university, and wielding his influence as Governor, the state House of Assembly allotted 90 per cent equity shares to trustees of the Rochas Foundation and 10 per cent to the government before Okorocha left office as governor.

Joined in the suit are the governor of Imo State, the Attorney General of Imo State, the state House of Assembly and the Incorporated Trustees of Rochas Foundation

The Youth Assembly is asking the court to grant an order directing the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma to take over the management,  control and running of the  Eastern Palm University, Ogboko for and on behalf of the people of Imo State.

Some of their prayers are, “A declaration of the Honourable Court that the act of the 5th defendant, the former governor of Imo State, in his capacity as the then governor of Imo State in assenting to a bill, namely Law No. 3 of 2019 which confers exclusive privilege, right and or benefit to the 4th defendant, Rochas Foundation, which is a foundation promoted and owned by him, is immoral, wrongful and unconstitutional in that the same is not only a breach of trust but also the abuse of office of the governor of the state.

“An order of the Honourable Court nullifying Section 3 (3), (4) and (5) of the Imo State Law No 3 of 2019 as same is unconstitutional, wrongful, immoral to the extent that they purport to confer exclusive benefit to Rochas Foundation substantially belonging to the 5th defendant (Rochas. Okorocha) who as the executive governor of Imo State promoted same and had substantial interest therein.

“An order nullifying and or setting aside all and any instruments and/ or agreements of whatever nature made pursuant to Section 3(4) of Law No 3 of 2019” among others.

Hearing on the substantive suit will commence on the 7th of September, 2020.

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