Monday, October 10, 2016

How Governor Wike of Rivers State saved Federal High Court Judge from DSS raid

Wike prevents arrest of FHC judge in Port Harcourt
•Rivers CP averts bloody encounter between DSS operatives, policeman
•Gov accuses police, DSS operatives of shoving, injuring him
•APC, PDP in war of words
A mid-night show played out at the Government Reservation Area (GRA), Port Harcourt, in the early hours of yesterday when Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State unexpectedly got locked up in a confrontation with operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Wike had rushed to the No. 35, Forces Avenue, GRA official residence of Justice Uche Agumuo of the Federal High Court (FHC), Port Harcourt, following information that she was under siege by security men.

The security personnel had swooped on the compound, ready to take away Agumuo when the governor showed up.
He wondered what the men were doing there at that time of the day.
When he got no answer he began to kick and shout.
He branded the action of the security men illegal and wondered why they did not come for the judge during the day.
With the situation was appearing to get out of hand, Police Commissioner Francis Odesanya was tipped off and he too showed up, averting a possible shootout between the DSS operatives and a policeman on guard duty in the expansive premises.
Wike accused the policemen and DSS operatives of manhandling and injuring him.
He said it was all about a plot to declare a state of emergency in Rivers.
The governor’s  Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, followed up with a statement saying: “The operatives of DSS reportedly rough-handled Governor Wike, pushing him around and injuring his hand. A few of the operatives cocked their rifles and threatened to shoot the governor. They were irked by Governor Wike’s arrival at the scene, shortly after the failed abduction process began.
“It was learnt that Governor Wike received security information on the illegal moves, minutes after the operation started. The security operatives blocked the entrance of the residence of the Federal High Court judge at about 1 a.m. on Saturday, claiming that they were acting on orders from above. As they dragged Governor Wike, they insisted that they must be allowed to leave with the judge.
“However, the commotion attracted passersby and journalists, who thronged the vicinity to know why hundreds of security agents, in several atrol vans had been mobilised. Upon the arrival of the national media, the Rivers State Director of the DSS, Mr. Tosin Ajayi, jumped into his vehicle and fled the scene.
“However, addressing journalists, Rivers State Police Commissioner said the two security agencies were at the scene, because they received privileged information. Odesanya claimed he was at the scene as a peacemaker. He declined comments on why the police joined the DSS to abduct a serving Federal High Court judge.”
Nwakaudu quoted his principal as saying: “Not under my watch will I allow this kind of impunity to take place. That is why we are here. I do not know which judge they were detailed to abduct. I did not bother myself to know which judge. All I am interested in is that, at this level, it is not allowed.
“She is not a criminal and she is not an armed robber. If the person (judge) has committed an offence, invite her. It is only when she refuses to honour the invitation that you can adopt this commando style.
“The Commissioner of Police is here, the Director of DSS is here. Their operatives cocked their guns and threatened to shoot me. I have never seen that before. Again, this is to tell you what we are facing. We know that more will come. For us in this state, we shall continue to resist it.
“It does not matter what it will cost. When you talk about liberty, sacrifices must be made. We are not trying to stop an arrest. All we are saying is that things must be done decently and in line with the rule of law.”
The State Director of DSS, Mr. Tosin Ajayi, did not respond to phone calls and SMS on the development yesterday.
A Ford pick-up van, with registration number: NPF 2033 D, marked RRS 015 and an unmarked Toyota Hilux van, with fully-armed policemen, were stationed directly opposite the judge’s residence yesterday.
Rivers Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said by phone that the operation was purely a DSS affair and had nothing to do with the police.
He said the police commissioner intervened to prevent a possible bloodshed.
The Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) sided with Wike and said  the DSS  attempted to shoot the governor “for intervening in the illegal move to abduct” Agumuo.
It described the development as most sacrilegious.
It added: “the unruly behaviour of the overzealous security operatives is the worst of its kind in the history of Nigeria and is a cause for concern.
“Though the target is to find reason to declare a state of emergency in the state, the President, the National Assembly members, Judicial Officers, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and all relevant authorities and stakeholders should be put on notice on these acts of recklessness against Rivers State as injury to one is injury to all.”
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state said it was the governor that was at fault for “peddling bizarre stunt of bravado.”
The party’s Publicity Secretary in the state, Chris Finebone, said: “Ordinarily, this morning’s (yesterday) macabre dance by Wike should not merit any serious interest from anyone, because everyone has become sick and tired of such from him, but for the innocent people and residents of Rivers State, whom he subjects to unbridled lies and misinformation under one phantom excuse or another.
“There is no question that the melodrama is just one of the many chapters in Wike’s book on political demagoguery. How can anyone explain the many obvious inconsistencies that fly in the face of his highly-mendacious account to the media this morning?
“Indeed, we ask: How come the governor said he did not know the occupant of the house? How did he find his way to the gate of a house he did not know the occupant? Is the judge of a Federal High Court under the governor of Rivers State? May be, yes but why? Is the Federal High Court, its judges and the DSS not belong to the same Federal Government?
“The APC believes that the Rivers governor is once again up to his dishonest self. We do not believe his account. We believe that the bizarre stunt of bravado being peddled by Wike is just for the purpose of convincing his collaborators in the judiciary in Rivers State that he will always protect them.
“The claim by Wike that his presence at the scene of the incident was to help resist abduction is typically dishonest. He was there to obstruct justice. Simple! The reason is that crime connects much more than innocence does.”

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