Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting Abuja has slated May 9, 2018, to decide whether or not to stop the Nigerian Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the State Security Service (SSS) from investigating governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Wike had on June 5, 2017 approached the court with a suit seeking to restrain the Inspector General of Police, the Nigeria Police Force, the EFCC, the SSS and their agents from searching any of his houses whether in Abuja or any other part of the country.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Wike’s counsel, Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN) told the court that what his client is seeking is the interpretation of Section 308 of the Constitution as it relates to search warrant.
He said, “A search warrant is undoubtedly a process of the court and if that is the case, there is a breach of the absolute immunity that Section 308 confers on the plaintiff (Wike).”
Ogwemoh argued that the section provided that a search warrant required the appearance of the plaintiff who had immunity at the property to be searched and further submitted that the submission by the counsel to the Police that it had the discretion to search his house in his absence was against the law.
He said, since Wike is only seeking an interpretation to the law, there was no need to attach a warrant to the application.
Counsel to the IGP, David Igbodo, in his opposition to the application, prayed the court to dismiss it on the grounds that it was mere speculations and added that, “The application is speculative because, in the first instance, there is no search warrant attached to it.
“The only exhibit attached is the interview granted by Wike himself in which he made allegations that the police wants to search his house in Abuja.
“He made the allegation but he did not attach the search warrant to prove it. Assuming without conceding that the police obtained a search warrant to search the Rivers governor’s house in Abuja, the question is, can the police execute the search warrant without requiring his presence?
“The question has been answered by the Supreme Court and the answer is yes, the police can effectively do that without requiring his presence, so, the government house of Rivers in Abuja can be searched without the governor’s presence as there are security men there that can witness the search.”
Igbodo further submitted that the law allowed the police to gather evidence and investigate officials who had immunity, adding that a search warrant was a process of obtaining evidence during the investigation.
After listening to the submissions of the counsel, Justice Mohammed reserved judgment in the matter till May 9, 2018.