IGP Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction to Entertain Wike’s Suit

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has challenged the jurisdiction of a Federal High Court in Abuja to entertain the suit brought before it by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State seeking to stop Police investigation of the complaints, allegations, petitions of crimes and various acts of criminality during the December 10, 2016 re-run elections in Rivers state.
The Police boss and a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro, who are first and third defendants in the suit filed by Wike told the trial Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole that his court lacks the jurisdictional competence to stop the Police from investigating the crimes allegedly committed during the last re-run elections in Rivers state.
Deji Morakinya of Femi Falana chambers, who represented the Police boss when the matter came up Monday told the court that the defendants had, on January 27, 2017 filed a notice of Preliminary objection, a counter affidavit to the plaintiff’s originating summons as well as a counter affidavit to the motion on interlocutory injunction.
According to Morakinya, the issue of jurisdiction is very important and should first, be decided before anything can be done in the matter adding that the defendants will be opposing any application that seeks to prevent the Police from carrying out its constitutional duties.
In a short ruling, Justice Kolawole said the matter was adjourned at the last sitting for the defendants to show cause why they should not be restrained from investigating the allegations of crimes following the re-run election in Rivers state, rather, the defendants filed a preliminary objection and counter affidavit to plaintiff’s originating summons.
Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Wike said he would respond to the issues raised in the counter affidavit at the appropriate time but urged the court to restrain the IGP or his agents to maintain status quo on the matter until issues raised by the originating summons are resolved.
According to Ozekhome, the police have admitted that some actions have been taken in a matter before the court but this ought not to be.
“The question is whether they should use the issue of jurisdiction to continue to go on with it their activities, when the court has determined whether it has jurisdiction or not. They have admitted that they have carried actions concerning this matter before this court, they are saying that we are carrying out investigation and dismissed some policemen in the matter whilst they ought to stay execution so that they would not be farti accomplished. This is my worry.
“This is no right, otherwise it will be farti accomplished and an affront on this court. They should give an undertaken that the when arguing the matter, they should stay action for now”, Izekhome prayed the court.
Kolawole in a bench ruling said, “I rarely did not see any irreparable damage that the plaintiff will suffer if the police is not restrained from carrying out the planned investigation”.
He said even if the first and third defendants went ahead with the investigation, the court has the power to set aside the report on the investigation for being conducted during the pendency of the matter in court.
According to Justice Kolawole, “the issue of jurisdiction is to be resolved first before going into the substance of the matter.
“The issue of jurisdiction of court is said to be sacrosanct until otherwise proven.
“I see no injuries to be suffered by the defendants if asked to stay action. However, they have the option to go ahead or not but let me say that the court still has the power to declare findings of investigation by the police invalid “, the court held
The Judge then adjourned the matter till February 10, 2017 to hear the Plaintiff’s motion on notice along with other applications filed in the matter.
In a motion exparte which Chief Ozekhome argued on behalf of Governor Wike, the court was urged to make an order of interin injunction restraining the IGP, the, State Security Services (SSS) and a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro, who are defendants in the motion, or their agents from enforcing or executing the matters contained in the letter written to Governor by the the Police boss on December 20, 2016.
The IGP in the said letter titled, “Investigation into allegations of crimes committed during the last rerun elections in Rivers state”, stated that the, “purview of the investigation will cover allegations of bribes taken, several brazen murder incidents (including that of serving Police Officers), reports of gross human rights abuses, acts of sabotage/terrorism, kidnapping for ransom and ballot box snatching, all of which were perpetrated in connivance with several federal and state civil servants as well as highly placed politicians within and outside the state”.

Author: News Editor

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