PORT HARCOURT—Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has come under attack as a coalition of civil society organisations in the state, yesterday, condemned his alleged interference in the arrest of the undisclosed judge of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
The groups, Alliance for Transparency and Good Governance, ATGG, Vanguard for Justice, Equity and Strategy, VJES, and Rivers Pathfinders, said the show of strength culminating in the attack of Department of State Services, DSS, operatives by Governor Wike was an act of political rascality.
Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, the coordinator of ATGG, Erasmus Nwankpa, expressed dismay that the governor of a state would brazenly obstruct the constitutional powers of the DSS, to arrest an accused person. Reacting to the allegation, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr. Austin Tam-George, described the comments by the three groups as a sad irony. Tam-George wandered why a group would contest the position of the governor, adding that the civil society groups were members of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He said: “The protesting groups are APC members in disguise. It is a sad irony. How could any group protest against Governor Wike’s principled insistence on the supremacy of the law? “Throughout this debate, every reasonable individual or organisation, including the NBA, the African Bar Association, senior advocates of Nigeria, all agree that the only sustainable way to fight corruption is through institutional reforms, and respect for due process.
“You can’t fight corruption with a cowboy mentality, using midnight melodrama and lawlessness.” Also, coordinator of VJES, Jerome Green, who regretted the attitude of Wike in trying to stop the arrest of a judge of a Federal High Court in the state, said: “I still could not believe that Wike who is a lawyer and should know the law relating to who has the power to arrest, actually went out by 1a.m., as reported, just to protect a judge from being arrested.
“What then will be the interest of Governor Wike to secure and frustrate the lawful duty of the state security service,” Jarome queried. Also, Mr. Abiye Sokari-George of Rivers Pathfinders, described what happened in the state as a show of gangsterism, stressing that Wike has reduced governance and the office of the Governor of the state.