Court stops Police, others from searching Wike’s houses

Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday ruled that the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Nigerian Police Force, the Economic and Financi

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Federal High Court sitting
in Abuja yesterday ruled that
the Inspector General of Police,
IGP, Nigerian Police Force, the
Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, EFCC, the State
Security Service, SSS, and their
agents cannot search any of the
houses belonging to Governor
Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in
parts of the country without his
presence.
The trial judge, Justice Ahmed
Ramat Mohammed held in a
judgement he delivered yesterday
that a court process, like a search
warrant, which the police sought
could not be issued on Wike who
enjoys immunity under Section
308 of the constitution as a sitting
governor.
Wike had in his suit prayed the
court to declare that the police
and other security agents could
not get a search warrant to search
any of his houses, a relief which
the court granted, adding that no
civil or criminal proceeding could
be filed against a serving governor
who is covered by Section 308 of
the 1999 Constitution.
The judge held that the
constitution does not permit the
issuance of a process of the court
to compel the appearance of a
serving governor, who enjoys
immunity under Section 308 of
the constitution.
“None of the parties in the suit
have denied that a search warrant
issued by a magistrate or a judge
is not a court process.
“Parties seem to have lost
the purport and intendment
of Section 308 (1), paragraph
C of the constitution,” Justice
Mohammed stated and held that
“I’m satisfied that the plaintiff’s
suit has merit.”
The judge granted reliefs one,
two and three of Governor Wike
and turned down the prayers to
grant the fourth and fifth reliefs
in the suit.
Wike in the suit numbered
FHC/ABJ/CS/383, 2017, filed
by is counsel, Sylva Ogwemoh
(SAN), wanted the court to
determine “whether section
308 of the Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria
1999 (as amended) precludes the
defendants from applying for and
or obtaining any process of any
court requiring or compelling the
appearance of the plaintiff, who
is the current governor of Rivers
State.
“Whether the defendants can,
by combined effect of section 308
of the constitution and sections
149 and 150 of the Administration
of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA,
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 plaintiff or his privy
in the course of the execution of
such search warrant.
“If the answer to question two
above is 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 constitution where the
issue and or execution of such
search warrant would compel
and or require the presence of the
plaintiff.”
The governor also sought a
declaration that by virtues of
the provisions of Section 308 of
the constitution, the defendants
could not apply for, obtain,
issue or in any way or manner,
howsoever,r execute any court
process, requiring his appearance
as the governor of Rivers State.
Wike also sought a declaration
that by virtue of the combined
effect of Section 308 of the
constitution and Section 149 and
150 of ACJA, the defendants
could not execute any search
warrant at his residence in
any other place or locations in
Nigeria where the issue and or
execution of such search warrant
would compel and or require his
presence.
The plaintiff also wanted an
order of injunction restraining
the defendants to issue or enter
any of his residences anywhere
in the country by virtue of search
warrant or any court process
whatsoever, which shall compel
his physical presence as current
governor of Rivers State, in order
to search the said residence in
contravention of the his immunity
as preserved by section 308 of the
Constitution.
A 24-paragraph affidavit
in support of the originating
summon disposed to by one
Emmanuel Chinwenwo Aguma
(SAN) averred that Wike is the
governor of Rivers State elected
on the platform of the Peoples
Democratic Party, PDP, and
sworn into office on May 29,
2015, for a term of four years.

 Source : Bounce News

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