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Governor Wike stands with the rule of law

By Simeon Nwakaudu

I believe that most persons who support the undemocratic assault  of the judiciary by the DSS,  do so because  they are not privy to the dirty conspiracy  underlying  these actions.

Most Nigerians  are not conversant with the sustained assault of the Department of State Services  (DSS ) against  Rivers State  and the mandate freely extended by Rivers people to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.  This latest assault is simply another lawless attempt to whittle  down the popularity  of the People’s Governor  in the country.

It is a deep-seated illegal onslaught  on Rivers State premised on the greed/lust for Rivers resources by leaders of the APC  who illegally benefitted from corruptly acquired Rivers funds during the 2015 general election  campaigns.  Having tasted free  stolen funds from the immediate past governor,  these APC  officials are determined  to go to any shameful length  to destabilise Rivers State.

The DSS anti-democratic  and anti-Rivers  invasions started in October 2015 at the height of the proceedings  of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal  which sat in Abuja.

The DSS, Police and Army High Commands after receiving  approvals from the leadership of the APC detailed security  clowns  to testify against  the election  of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.  These operatives under cross examination all faltered as they admitted  that they did not directly  participate  in the election.  They admitted that their testimonies were based on rumours.

However, when Governor Wike and PDP subpoenaed the senior security personnel who directly  provided security  for the April 11, 2015 Governorship  election,  armed DSS Operatives  stormed the  venue of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja .  Their objective was to stop these security  personnel  from mounting  the witness  box.  They claimed  they had orders from above to arrest the security witnesses.

Heavily  Armed Department of  State  Services, DSS,  operatives  stormed the  Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to arrest a retired subpoenaed  commander , Emmanuel Philips who testified  that the election was peaceful, credible and without  cases of violence.

They could not arrest the retired commander as lawyers and journalists  demanded for arrest  warrant  which they failed to  produce.
A day before, the same DSS made an attempt  to  arrest an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Akuki Kenneth who testified that the Rivers State Governorship Election was peaceful ,  but was resisted by lawyers.

Having failed to stop these security officers from testifying, the DSS used pro-APC online and mainstream media outfits to circulate disparaging false allegations against Governor Wike.

Following  the  failure  that met the DSS desperate  attempt  to  abduct  a Federal High Court judge in Port Harcourt on 8th October, 2016p,  the same organisation  has approached her media associates in the APC  to hatch  and circulate false reports.

I read on Premium Times and  later shared by Sahara Reporters the claim that the DSS wanted to arrest a judge of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt  because  he allegedly  gave a judgment  that favoured the Ahmed Makarfi led PDP National Caretaker Committee.

These pro-APC  online and mainstream media  outfits  are quoting “competent security sources” as premise for whatever illogical  falsehood  they want to spin. However, each time you read these outlets,  know that it is part of the desperate  thinking of  the  APC.

One fact is now out in the open, sacked former PDP National Chairman received backing from the APC,  hence the venomous reprisal by the DSS. This has been explained  by the APC  media brought in to do damage control for the party.

However ,  the fundamental aim of Governor Wike as regards his timely intervention  was to sustain  the  rule of law as far as Rivers State is concerned. As the duly elected chief executive  and Chief security officer of the state ,  he had a responsibility  to  ensure that due process was followed.

The statement by the National Chairman of APC when he received  the  defeated Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate , Dakuku  Peterside lays credence  to the party’s ignoble desperation .

Chief Odigie-Oyegun said: “We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP. No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country.”

Since then, the APC leadership   both at the Federal  and Rivers State level have sponsored  attacks on the judiciary , questioning  the  validation  of the election of Governor Wike by the Supreme Court .

Despite  the sponsorship  of  destructive propaganda  against  Governor Wike , he has continued  to  stand on the truth, promoting the  principles of  the  rule of law and due process .

Upon assumption  of duty as Governor , Nyesom Ezenwo Wike revived  the State Judiciary  that was left comatose  by the immediate  past  governor  of Rivers State Governor.

The governor  has also stabilised the judiciary by   ensuring  peaceful transition of the leadership of the State Judiciary  on the premise of the laid down succession rule. The Rivers State Judiciary  now enjoys financial  autonomy , with massive infrastructural development taking place in the courts.

Welfare of judicial  officers has been given top priority , while the State Government  recently  handed over the uultra-modern  NBA Law Centre to the Port Harcourt Branch of the NBA to improve  research and  the rule of  law in the state.

Governor Wike’s promotion of the rule of law is known to all.His defence of due process is always in the interest of the state and the society.

As Rivers State Chief Security officer , he has always worked hard to  protect all residents of Rivers State .

Addressing the  people of Rivers State last Saturday night during a special dinner for the management and players of Rivers United at the Government House, Port Harcourt,  Governor Wike said the weak blackmail  of the DSS will not lessen the crime they have committed against the Nigerian State by assaulting  the judiciary.
He noted that nobody is deceived by the concocted figures being circulated by the DSS.

He said: “Their blackmail stories will not move me. They will concoct all kinds of stories to justify this undemocratic illegality perpetrated against the judiciary.

“It is really unfortunate that DSS would concoct a false defence that $2million USD , (that is N900million) was found in the house of the judge.It is unfortunate that the DSS is coming up with flimsy excuses. ”

It will be recalled  that  the governor and the DSS Operatives  had their encounter outside the gate of the residence.  It is therefore ridiculous  that the DSS remained outside  to decare thar N900million  was found in the  residence.

The governor noted that while he does not condone corruption  , he will never support any process that is targeted at ruining the nation’s  judiciary.

He stated that the National Judicial Council has the responsibility  to discipline  erring and corrupt  judges, after which indicted judicial  officers are handed over to the relevant  law enforcement agency for prosecution.

The governor said  that the Police, Army and other para-military  agencies  have their respective  processes for the discipline  of erring and corrupt officers.

“In the police, erring and corrupt  policemen  are first given orderly room trial, sacked and then appropriately  prosecuted. For Judicial Officers,  the DSS has no role”, he said.

Governor Wike added: “This impunity must stop.I am not in support of any judicial support being involved in corruption. What we are saying is that the right things must be done. We must not do things that will jeopardise our hard earned democracy”.

All other well meaning  Nigerians  and groups have insisted on the rule of law . The general  agreement  is that corruption  must be fought within the ambit of the law.

According  to  the National Judicial Council after its marathon meeting, NJC: “expresses its grave concern on the recent invasion of the Residences and arrest of some serving and suspended Judicial Officers by the Department of State Services (“DSS”); and condemned the action in its entirety.

“Viewed the action as a threat to the Independence of the Judiciary, which portends great danger to our democracy; and also considered the action as a clear attempt by the DSS to humiliate, intimidate, denigrate and cow the Judiciary.”

The NBA at the end of his second  crisis management meeting on 13th October , 2016 declared thus: “That the NBA reiterates in unmistakeable terms its commitment to the fight against corruption and commits itself to collaborate with the Federal Government in bringing culprits to justice whether Judges or ordinary people. However, we will only do this within the ambit of the law and in accordance with due process.”

It was the great act of courage by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  on Saturday , 8th October , 2016 that saved the day for the nation’s  judiciary . Otherwise , by now, operatives  of the DSS would have hunted down all judicial officers  believed to be impartial and not dancing to expected tunes.

It was that singular  act that brought the entire illegality to the National frontburner .  Otherwise , the Nigerian people  would have been subjected to an overdose  of media trial, which will eventually  destroy  one of the most important  structures of democracy .

Those who know Governor Wike  well understand  that he is not moved by falsehood and propaganda .  The actions of the DSS being sponsored  by  prominent corrupt elements of Rivers APC  will not stop the  governor  from defending the rule of law .

Governor Wike has the constitutional  responsibility  to promote and  defend due process, rule of  law  and constitutional democracy . So far, he has lived up to the expectations of the people in these regards. He has moved Rivers State away from the days of impunity when the immediate  past governor practically  welded the gates of the courts, drove away judicial officers and lawyers and  instituted a regime of lawlessness .

The 8th October , 2016 action of Governor Wike  disseminated one message unequivocally : “Never again , will anyone, no matter his connection and iill-gotten  wealth  be allowed to drag Rivers State back to the days of impunity “.

Simeon Nwakaudu ,
Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor , Electronic Media .
14th October , 2016.

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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