No, You Can’t Search Wike’s Houses Anywhere in Nigeria, Court Tells IGP, SSS, EFCC

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike got a reprieve Wednesday when a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, held that no security agency has the right to search any of Wike’s houses anywhere in the country.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, delivering a judgment on Wike’s application to bar security agencies from searching any of his houses, said Wike’s houses cannot be searched, whether in Abuja or any other part of the country, without his presence.
He thus barred the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, the Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the State Security Service (SSS) and their agents from searching any of the houses belonging to the Governor.
Mohammed held that a court process, like a search warrant, which the Police sought cannot be issued on Wike, who enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the constitution, as a sitting Governor.
Wike had, in his suit prayed the court to declare that the Police and other security agents cannot get a search warrant to search any of his houses, a relief which the court granted, adding that, no civil or criminal proceeding can be filed against a serving Governor, who is covered by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
In the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/383,2017, filed by Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN), Wike wanted the court to determine: “Whether section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) precludes the defendants from applying for and or obtaining any process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of the plaintiff, who is the current Governor of Rivers State.
“Whether the defendants can, by combine effect or section 308 of the Constitution and sections 149 and 150 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 apply for, obtain, issue or in any manner or form, effectively execute a search warrant at the residence of the plaintiff in Abuja or in any of the plaintiff’s residence in other locations in Nigeria without the physical presence of plaintiff or his privy in the course of the execution of such search warrant.
“If the answer to question 2 above is in the negative, will the issuing, obtaining and executing of search warrant at the residence of the plaintiff in Abuja or in any of the plaintiff’s residence in any other location in Nigeria, not amount to a violation of section 308 of the Constitution where the issue and or execution of such search warrant would compel and or require the presence of the Plaintiff”.
The Governor also sought a declaration that by virtues of the provisions of Section 308 of the constitution, the defendants cannot apply for, obtain, issue or in any way or manner howsoever execute any court process, requiring his appearance as the Governor of Rivers State.
Wike also sought a declaration that by virtue of the combined effect of Section 308 of the Constitution and Section 149 and 150 of ACJA, the defendants cannot execute any search warrant at his residence in any other place or locations in Nigeria where the issue and or execution of such search warrant would compel and or require his presence.
The Plaintiff also wanted an order of injunction restraining the defendants to issue, enter any of his residence anywhere in the country by virtue of search warrant or any court process whatsoever which shall compel his physical presence, as a current Governor of Rivers State, in order to search the said residence, in contravention of the his immunity as preserved by section 308 of the Constitution.
In the judgment on Wednesday, Justice Mohammed held that the constitution does not permit the issuance of a process of the court to compel the appearance of a serving governor, who enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the constitution.
“None of the parties in the suit have denied that a search warrant issued by a Magistrate or a Judge is not a court process.
“Parties seem to have lost the purport and intendment of Section 308 (1), paragraph C of the constitution”, Justice Mohammed stated and held that, “I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s suit has merit”.

Author: News Editor

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