Senator Chris Anyanwu yesterday accused Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha of ordering his security detail to attack her convoy and beat up her security men.
Wednesday’s convoy clash was the height of the personality clash between the two public officials both of whom were elected on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
But Okorocha’s spokesman Ebere Uzoukwa denied the claims by the senator.
He said the senator breached protocol by using a siren, which has been banned in the state.
“The senator’s vehicle suddenly rammed into the governor’s convoy close to the staff car, cutting off the lead security vehicle after overtaking dangerously and in a very suspicious manner,” Uzoukwa said.
But, Senator Anyanwu recounts the incident in Owerri, the Imo State capital. She described the governor’s security men’s action as “frightening” and “brutish”, adding that she had been threatened in the past at several occasions in the state.
Giving a graphic detail of the clash between her convoy and the governor’s security men, Senator Anyanwu said: “My day started around 9.30am when I visited the governor at the Government House on Tuesday to exchange pleasantries and he asked if I had adequate security and I said “yes” after which I left for my home town, Mbaise.”
“When we got to Azara Egbelu, we heard siren coming behind us and when it grew louder, we parked (our vehicles) to allow the convoy way to pass. But, surprisingly, the approaching convoy which comprised of truck loads of armed and stern looking men double crossed us and pulled out two of my drivers dragging them into the bush where they were mercilessly beaten and left with broken skull and bruises.
“When I could not bear it any more, I rushed out of my car barefooted and started shouting: “I am Senator Chris Anynawu please don’t kill my driver, but one of the armed men charged at me and threatened to shoot me for running into the governor’s convoy. All these while, the Governor was seated in his car with the glass wound down and I heard him shout at his security men to disarm my orderlies”.
Mrs. Anywanwu described the Governor’s action as “a misplaced show of power. The power of the state is so enormous and you don’t need to intimidate, harass or kill your people to assert your powers as a governor.
“I am tired of all these abuses and harassment in this state. It is not only in Imo State that they have female legislators. If they could do this to me, what will happen to the ordinary people, this has to stop”.
The governor’s spokesman insisted that Senator Anyanwu breached security, adding that her outburst of anger could have resulted in a heavy casualty if not for the discipline of the governor’s security men who displayed a high sense of decency, professionalism and maturity.
“Surprisingly, Senator Anyanwu, who no doubt knew the convoy was that of the governor of Imo State, alighted from her car and ordered her Naval security personnel to open fire. The Senator slapped both the governor’s Aide Camp and Chief Detail. She also rained abuses on the governor,” Uzoukwa said.
Sources in the state said there had been no love lost between the governor and the senator because of the perceived interest of the senator in contesting for governor.