A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday fixed May 2, 2017 for judgment in a suit by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, seeking to stop the police from investigating alleged crimes committed during the December 10, 2016 national and state assembly reruns in the state.
At the hearing of the suit on Friday, the police and the Department of State Services asked the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.
Through their lawyers, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and Mr. Tijani Gazali, they argued that the prayers sought in the suit would create a “dangerous precedent” if granted by the court.
Falana said during the hearing of the suit, “The prayer being sought by the plaintiffs will create a dangerous precedent if granted because it will mean that a terrorism suspect can go to court and say I cannot be investigated.
“We have shown in our addresses that no citizen can go to court and pray the court to stop the police from investigating criminal offences.”
Gazali, who aligned with Falana’s submissions, added that there was evidence that the Inspector-General of Police’s decision to set up the special investigative team was informed by complaints and petitions received on the crimes committed during the rerun.
Both lawyers argued that no court should grant any prayer seeking to stop the police from carrying out their constitutional duty of investigating crimes.
They reminded the court that Section 4 of the Police Act and Section 215 of the Constitution had vested the police with the power to investigate all manners of crime.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed May 2 for judgment after lawyers to the respective parties argued for and against the suit on Friday.
The Office of the Governor of Rivers State; Wike (in his personal capacity); and the Attorney General of the state, are the first to the third plaintiffs respectively.
They joined the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the State Security Service (otherwise known as the Department of State Services) and the head of the police investigative team, Mr. Damian Okoro, as the first to the third defendants respectively.
Before the hearing of the suit on Friday, the judge, lawyers and the audience watched video clips of Channels Television’s News @10, showing how some men in police uniform, disrupted the collation of results at the Port Harcourt City Hall during the rerun.
At the hearing, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged the court to grant all the 12 prayers sought in the suit.
He said, “The gravamen of this case is that the defendants cannot set up a special panel of investigation notwithstanding the power of police under Section 4 of Police Act and Section 215 of the Constitution to specifically target the first and second plaintiffs (Governor of Rivers State and Wike) with premeditated, designed, contrived and biased intention to rubbish the first and second plaintiffs after they had already made up their minds to indict them.
“So their case was working from the answer to the question.”
He said the police had in a letter sent to the governor, concluded that it was Wike who assigned criminal elements to disrupt the election.