Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has asked the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to stop Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris and two others, from carrying a search on his house situated at Ortega Close, Asokoro, Abuja and or any of his houses across the country
In addition, the governor further asked the court for a restraining order against the IGP, police, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the State Security Service (SSS) and their agents from searching any of his houses whether in Abuja or any other part of the country.
Wike’s action is contained in a suit, No FHC/ABJ/CS/383,2017, filed on May 4, 2017, by is counsel, Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN).
In the originating summons before Justice Ahmed Mohamed, the governor urged the court to determine, “whether Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) precludes the defendants from applying for and or obtaining any process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of plaintiff who is the current governor of Rivers State.
He is further pressing for the determination of the court as to whether the defendants can combine effect or Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and sections 149 and 150 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 apply for, obtain, issue or in any manner or form effectively execute a search warrant at the residence of the plaintiff in Abuja or in any of the plaintiff’s residence in other locations in Nigeria without the physical presence of the plaintiff or his privy in the course of the execution of such search warrant.
If the court answer the second question in the negative, “will the issuing, obtaining and executing of search warrant at the residence of the plaintiff in Abuja or in any of the plaintiff’s residence in any other location in Nigeria, not amount to a violation of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution where the issue and or execution of such search warrant would compel and or require the presence of the plaintiff.”
Based on the determination of the above questions, Wike is, therefore, seeking the following reliefs jointly and severally against the defendants.
“A declaration that by virtues of the provisions of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, the defendants cannot whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers privies or in any manner howsoever apply for, obtain, issue or in any way or manner howsoever execute any court process requiring the appearance of the plaintiff who is currently the governor of Rivers State.
“A declaration that by virtue of the combined effect of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and sections 149 and 150 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, the defendants cannot whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers, privies or in any manner howsoever execute any search warrant at the residence in any other place or locations in Nigeria where the issue and or execution of such search warrant would compel and or require the presence of the plaintiff who is the governor of Rivers State.”
Other relief sought by the plaintiff include “an order of injunction restraining the defendants to issue, enter any of his residence anywhere in the country by virtue of search warrant or any court process whatsoever which shall compel the physical presence of the plaintiff who is currently the governor of Rivers State, Nigeria in order to search the said residence of the plaintiff in contravention of the plaintiff’s immunity as preserved by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The originating summons was supported by a 24-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Emmanuel Aguma (SAN). He averred that Nyesom Wike is the Governor of Rivers State elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and sworn into office on May 29, 2015 for a term of four years. He further averred that the plaintiff addressed a press conference where he unequivocally stated that the IGP, the defendants herein, either acting by himself or through persons acting on his orders and instructions which include his servants, agents or privies intend to raid the plaintiff’s Abuja residence situated at Ortega Close, off Hassan Usman Katsina Street, Asokoro Extension, Abuja and search same.
Aguma also averred that the intention of the raid, according to the plaintiff’s press conference, is to incriminate him in an unspecified crime through the recovery of huge sums of money, firearms and expensive wristwatches. The deponent told the court that the plaintiff, on May 2, informed him of moves by the defendants to commence the process of either applying for, or are in the process of obtaining, or have already obtained a search warrant to be executed at either his aforementioned residence or some other residences of his in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He said if the defendants are not restrained by an order of the court, they shall proceed to execute the said search warrant.
While stating that he believes the plaintiff has not committed any criminal offence and is also vested with constitutional immunity, the deponent stated that the actions of the defendant shall violate his constitutional immunity.
He added that the defendants are only witch-hunting the plaintiff in order to silence him and tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
When the case came up yesterday, defence counsel, however, sought for time to file their responses.
The court subsequently adjourned till September 26 for commencement of trial.