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Court bars police, EFCC, DSS from searching Wike’s houses

• Ijaw Rivers endorse gov for second term

Tony John, Port Harcourt

The Federal High Court, Abuja has barred the Nigerian Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Service (DSS) from searching houses belonging to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

Wike had, in 2017, approached the court seeking an order of injunction restraining the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the police, the EFCC and the DSS from obtaining a search warrant to search any of his houses.

Delivering judgment 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.

Mohammed said 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 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.

In another development, Wike, has inaugurated the committees on the administration and disbursement of civil servants’ revolving loan scheme and the state’s N200 million monthly traders and young entrepreneurs interest free loan scheme.

The governor inaugurated the two committees yesterday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

Wike, while inaugurating the committees, said they (committees) are vital because they revolve around the empowerment of Rivers people.

He said the civil servants’ revolving loan scheme was initiated by the Peter Odili’s administration, but, neglected by the Chibuike Amaechi’s administration.

The governor said his administration reintroduced it because of the need to reach indigent civil servants.

“The loan scheme is to reduce the burden of civil servants between levels one and 13. All those qualified should be granted. It is a loan for all civil servants, irrespective of their political affiliation. Civil servants must not abuse the loan scheme.

He said N100 million would be made available monthly to the committee for disbursement, and directed the committee members to start work immediately.

On the N200 million monthly traders and young entrepreneurs’ interest free loan scheme, Wike said it is meant for every businessman or woman resident in the state.

Wike directed that beneficiaries must reside and be registered as voters in the state.

He charged the committee to advertise the loan and the modalities for accessing it.
Meanwhile, Ijaw in the state have endorsed the governor for a second term.

The Ijaw people declared their preference for Wike yesterday, after marching through the streets of Port Harcourt in honour of late Niger Delta freedom fighter, Isaac Boro.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Madam Ankio Briggs said in view of the performance of Wike, he deserves another term in office, to consolidate on the gains of his first term.

She said: “As Ijaw in Rivers state, because of the work you have done in four years, in terms of protecting the people of Niger Delta, it is okay for you to run for another four years.

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