Vivid details of the role played by the police in Rivers State during the aborted arrest of a judge of the Federal High court in Port Harcourt, in the early hours of Saturday emerged yesterday, after sources disclosed that the Directorate of State Services, DSS, in the state informed the Commissioner of Police about the operation before it started.
It was gathered that the DSS in the state had earlier called to inform the Commissioner of Police, Francis Odesanya, that his men were going to effect the arrest. The police boss reportedly complied accordingly by directing his men to cooperate and give them all necessary support. According to police sources, it was in the early hours of the morning and nobody would have been expected to open his doors freely to visitors, so, the judge refused to open his doors to DSS officials.
The source said: “The DSS office shares the same fence with that of the judge. If they had wanted to accomplish the arrest successfully without much fuss, there are many options left for them. ‘’They should have either scaled the fence to enter the compound or gone with the necessary instruments for the operation. ‘’The governor arrived there with a retinue of members of his cabinet and members of the House of Assembly.
While the DSS operatives were dilly-dallying, the governor and his team started obstructing them. “When the situation was getting intolerable around 1am, the Commissioner of Police arrived the scene. He spoke with the DSS boss and later went to persuade the governor to allow them do their work advising that if there was any breach, it should follow due process later.
‘’The commissioner of police reportedly insisted that the governor should not obstruct justice. When the governor refused to give way, the police boss ordered his ADC to move away from the scene and he complied.
‘’The DSS attempted to move in but the governor, again without his ADC and other policemen that accompanied him who were obeying the Cp’s order, started obstructing them.” This, according to sources, was the stand-off until around 4am when journalists and other interested parties arrived.
Governor Wike stated that whatever the situation, the rule of law must prevail in a democratic setting. He said if the security agencies had a lawful directive to implement, they must follow due process .
According to him: “Not under my watch wiĺl I allow this kind of impunity to take place. That is why we are here. I don’t know which judge they were detailed to abduct. I didn’t bother myself to know which judge. All I am interested in is that, at this level, it is not allowed. “He is not a criminal and he is not an armed robber. If the person has committed an offence, invite him.
It is only when he refuses to honour the invitation that you can adopt this commando style.
“The Commissioner of Police is here, the Director of DSS is here. Their operatives cocked their guns and threatened to shoot me. I have never seen that before. Again , this is to tell you what we are facing . We know that more will come. For us in this state, we shall continue to resist it.”
Governor Wike added: “It doesn’t matter what it will cost. When you talk about liberty, sacrifices must be made. We are not trying to stop an arrest. All we are saying is that things must be done decently and in line with the rule of law. “Rivers State is under siege.
For you to see a governor out at this time of the day, something is wrong. A siege is an understatement. If this type of thing happens next time, the people wiĺl resist it to the last”. The governor stressed: “They are trying to do something funny in this state, probably to declare a state of emergency.