Judgment on the propriety for probe into the Rivers State legislative re-run which took place on December 10, 2016, brought against the Inspector General of Police by Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has been shifted to May 9.
Wike had on January 16, approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, to stop the Inspector General of Police, Department of State Security and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro (Chairman of the probe panel), from carrying out a probe of the re-run which was marred by violence.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court, who was to give the judgment on the suit, Tuesday, said it was not ready.
He said he was out of the court division for the holiday and did not carry along the necessary documents to write the judgment. He thereafter fixed May 9 to deliver the judgment.
In the course of argument IGP had maintained that the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by Wike had no power to look into the crimes committed during the re-run election and prosecute the culprits.
According to him, pursuant to Section 150 of the Electoral Act, the crimes committed during the re-run were federal offences, which could not be investigated and prosecuted by the plaintiffs.
The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/13/2017, filed by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, for the plaintiffs, has Wike and the State Attorney-General as plaintiffs.
The IGP argued that, “Even though a combined team of the Army, police and other security personnel were on ground during the election, criminal elements committed many crimes and unleashed violence on unarmed voters and electoral officers.
“Two policemen were beheaded by a criminal gang. Based on complaints received from several members of the public, coupled with the crimes committed in the presence of security personnel, the 1st defendant (IGP) decided to set up a special investigation panel of the police headed by the 3rd defendant to investigate the killings and other electoral offences which occurred during the rerun election.
“The 1st and 3rd defendants have made progress in the investigation being conducted into the crimes. Among the several arrests of the criminal suspects made, is that of the fellow, who stole the telephone handset of the beheaded Deputy Superintendent of Police.
“The bodies of the beheaded policemen have also been recovered while the tape of the telephone conversation between Governors Wike and Ayodele Fayose on the rerun election is being analysed.
“The policemen, who accompanied the 2nd plaintiff (Wike) when he stormed polling units and the collation centre, have been identified, investigated and dismissed by the Police Service Commission (PSC), while the 1st defendant has ordered that they be tried for contravening the provisions of the Electoral Act when they illegally accompanied the 2nd plaintiff to polling units and collation centre.
“In a desperate move to cover up the grave crimes perpetrated during the rerun election and shield him from investigation, the 2nd plaintiff is praying this honourable court to stop the 1st and 3rd defendants from carrying out their statutory duty of investigating the crimes on the ground that he had set up a judicial commission of enquiry.
“Based on the questions for determination and the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, the defendants have challenged the jurisdiction of this court to hear and determine this case,“ the 1st and 3rd defendants said.