A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole on Monday refused to grant Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s ex parte application.
Wike is seeking an order to nullify the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris’ letter ordering an investigation into acts of criminality during the December 10, 2016 rerun in the state.
Instead, Kolawole directed that the defendants be put on notice.
The judge also directed in his ruling that the defendants, after being served with the court processes, should appear in court on January 30 to show cause on why the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs in their motion ex parte should not be granted.
The two plaintiffs, who filed the suit, are the Office of the Governor of Rivers State (first plaintiff) and Wike in person (second plaintiff), while the defendants are the Inspector-General of Police, the State Security Services and a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro.
The Inspector-General of Police was said to have sent the letter dated December 20, 2016 to Wike.
The letter, entitled ‘Investigation into allegations of crimes committed during the last rerun elections in Rivers State’, was said to have, among others, requested the governor “to furnish the police investigative team with all necessary information and exhibits that may assist the team in the investigation.”
The IGP had stated in the letter 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.”
Earlier before the judge’s ruling, the governor’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had while arguing the ex parte motion on Monday, urged the court to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants “or their agents from enforcing or executing the matters contained in the letter written to Governor Wike by the IGP on December 20, 2016.”
Ozekhome told Justice Kolawole that the action of the police constituting a panel to investigate the crisis of the rerun in Rivers State was “illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and null and void”.
He submitted that it would be in the interest of justice for the court to set aside the IGP’s letter and direct the police authority to await the outcome of the commission of inquiry set up by the governor on the issue.
Ozekhome argued that the terms of reference of the panel of investigation set up by the police “clearly suggested” that the goal of the intended investigation was already pre-determined and biased or likely to be biased against Wike, having regard to the numerous conclusions already reached in the said letter.
He therefore urged the court to nullify the content of the letter by the Inspector-General of Police.
After listening to the plaintiffs’ counsel, Justice Kolawole directed that the processes be served on the defendants and adjourned till January 30 to enable the defendants to show cause why the plaintiffs’ ex parte prayers should not be granted.