The Federal High Court Abuja has barred the Nigerian Police, the EFCC and the Department of State Security Service, (DSS) from searching houses belonging to Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers.
Wike had in 2017, approached the court seeking an order of injunction restraining the IGP, the Police, the EFCC and the DSS from obtaining a search warrant to search any of his houses.
Delivering judgement on the matter on Wednesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed noted that the defendants were in agreement that the plaintiff, Wike, could not be investigated based on the provision of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Mohammed said that from the combined reading of Section 308 of the constitution, and sections 149 and 150 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) 2015, three situations had been prohibited.
The first, he said, was the provision that no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against the plaintiff.
He further said that a person covered by the provisions shall not be arrested, and thirdly, any process of court requiring appearance of a person protected under the provisions shall not be applied.
Justice Mohammed maintained that parties in their submissions, lost the purport and intendment of section 308(1)(c) of the constitution.
According to him, a careful reading of section 308(1)(c) shows that the constitution has prohibited court process requiring the appearance of a serving governor before any investigative panel.
He held that the argument of the police and the EFCC that Wike’s residence could be searched without his presence was untenable.
The judge said it was wrong for the defendants to import meaning or interpretation not included in Section 308 of the constitution by the person who drafted the constitution.
He held that the essence of the section was to accord immunity to a serving governor so as not to cause distractions to the governor in the act of governance.
The judge dismissed the objections of the defendants and held that Wike’s suit had succeeded because it had merit.
Wike had asked for six reliefs but the judge granted three and said while one was not grantable, the others were embedded in the ones granted.
“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.
“A declaration that by virtue of the combined effect of section 308 of the Constitution and sections 149 and 150 of ACJA, the defendants cannot in any manner apply for, obtain, issue or execute any search warrant at the residence of the plaintiff in Abuja or in any of the plaintiff’s residence in any other place or locations in Nigeria.
“An order that the defendants cannot by the combined effect of section 308 of the Constitution and sections 149 and 150 of ACJA, apply for, obtain, issue or execute any search warrant at the residence of the plaintiff in Abuja or in any of the plaintiff’s residence in any other place or locations in Nigeria.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit was filed in June 2017 by Mr Sylva Ogwemoh, (SAN), on behalf of Wike.
Ogwemoh had argued that Section 308 which had to do with the immunity clause was put in place to allow serving governors concentrate on the act of governance.
But the defendants had in opposition, argued that they had the right to search Wike’s residence even in his absence.(NAN).
EFCC grills former Kaduna governor for 4 hours over N700m campaign fund
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Friday interrogated Ramalan Yero, former governor of Kaduna state, for four hours at the commission’s office in Kaduna.
Yero was at the EFCC Kaduna office from around 9 am till around 1:30 pm, when he walked out smiling.
The former governor thanked his supporters who were outside the EFCC office, for their solidarity and asked them to go to the mosques for Juma’at prayer.
He, however, declined to make comment to the press.
His spokesman, Yakubu Lere, told NAN that the ex-governor was invited in connection with the N700 million campaign funds released to the state by the People Democratic Party headquarters in 2015.
Lere recalled that the former governor was at the EFCC office in Kano two years ago over the matter and was granted administrative bail.
“At that time, he explained during the interrogation that the N700 million was PDP money sent to him as the then governor of Kaduna state to finance 2015 general election with instructions, which he judiciously followed,” he said.
“What they are holding against him was that he kept the money in the office of the secretary to the state government instead of in a bank.
“Even last week he was here on the same issue, but as you can see, he came out smiling, meaning the commission has found nothing to hold against him for now.”
The spokesman urged Yero supporters to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the struggle to “rescue the state from collapse” has started.
Speaker seizes mace to avoid impeachment
The Speaker of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Legislative Council, Mr Daniel Michael, on Friday, seized the mace, the symbol of authority, to prevent his impeachment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that his action followed the move by his colleagues to impeach him over allegation of misconduct and abuse of privilege.
Mr Yusuf Kadir, the majority leader of the house, while moving a motion to pass a vote of no confidence on the speaker for alleged gross misconduct, called for his impeachment.
Mr Haruna Saidu, the deputy speaker, who presided over the house, directed the clerk to serve the speaker with the no confidence vote notice moved against him.
Saidu explained that the speaker had been given notice and the ultimatum to respond to the petition on or before May 30, but had to step down as the speaker in the meantime.
He further said that the impeachment would depend on his response to the notice served him.
Mr Aminu Barde, representing Kabusa ward, called on the house to strike out article B in the motion, which according to him, was strictly a party affair and should not be brought to the house.
Mr Isah Baushe, the Councillor representing Gwarinpa ward, said that the speaker should be given time to respond to the petition in writing before his the formal impeachment.
Baushe added that the petitioners should also provide evidence to back up their claims.
The petition reads: “abuse of office by taking unilateral decision without consulting this honorable chamber, which is tantamount to act of impunity and gross abuse of privilege.
“There was also an abuse of privilege by misinforming and misleading the honourable members to subconsciously disobey the party decision on state exco affirmation.
“This singular action has brought this honourable house to disrepute and ridicule.
“There was subversion of the legislative authority by unilaterally withdrawing an official communication from this chamber to the executive arm of the council without our collective consent.
“Desecrating the symbol of authority by removing and ordering mace to be deposited in an unconstitutional and unauthorised location,” it stated.
In his reaction, the speaker told NAN that he had not done anything wrong and would answer any question brought to him.
“I know myself, I have not done anything wrong, I’ll answer them,” he said.
NAN also reports that the glass door to the chamber was completely broken during the fracas that ensued at the chamber, following the event.
The lawmakers resorted to the use of the old broken mace to conduct the business of the day.
Some of the lawmakers, however, expressed happiness to the happening at the chamber, saying the crisis would allow members to sit up for serious legislative business.
Police recover Gombe assembly’s Mace
The Police in Gombe state on Friday, said they had recovered the Mace of the state’s House of Assembly, forcefully taken away a scuffle by some members during plenary on Thursday.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Shina Olukolu, told newsmen in Gombe that the mace was found around National Industrial Court in the state capital in the early hours of Friday.
The mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, was said to have been whisked away by some aggrieved members of the assembly after a failed attempt to change their leadership.
“You will recall that yesterday, May 24, at about 1.30 p.m. the mace, the symbol of authority of Gombe state House of Assembly, was taken away by an honourable member of the house in the company of others.
“The incident was allegedly occasioned by the dispute over leadership change of minority principal officers of the house.
“On receipt of the information, the Commissioner of Police visited the scene and heightened the security architecture already in place in the command based on the directives of the Inspector-General of Police.
“The pressure made them consequently to abandon the mace by the National Industrial Court in the state and it was recovered early on Friday.
“The mace is therefore today being handed over to the Speaker for his retention and use,’’ he said.
Receiving the mace from the police, the speaker, Alhaji Nasiru Nono, commended the police and other security agencies in the state for the proactive steps they took, which led to the recovery of the mace.
Nono said the mace was taken by one of the APC members during plenary on Thursday. (NAN)
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