Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, fixed May 9, 2018 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris and two others.
In the suit, Wike is seeking an order restraining the IGP, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) from searching any of his houses.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed fixed the date for judgment after listening to the adoption of final addresses by counsel to both parties to the fundamental rights suit.
In adopting his address, Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN), counsel to Wike, said the suit is seeking the interpretation of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
“The focal point of our summons is the interpretation of Section 308 of the constitution as it relates to search warrant.
“A search warrant is undoubtedly a process of court and if that is the case, there is a breach of the absolute immunity that Section 308 confers on the plaintiff (Wike),” he said.
Ogwemoh argued that the section provided that a search warrant required the appearance of the plaintiff who had immunity at the property to be searched.
He said the submission by the counsel to the police that it had the discretion to search the governor’s house in his absence was against the law.
The senior lawyer added that since they were only seeking an interpretation to the law, there was no need to attach a warrant to the application.
Counsel to the IGP, Mr David Igbodo, opposing the application, prayed the court to dismiss it on the grounds that it was mere speculations.
“The application is speculative because in the first instance, there is no search warrant attached to it.
“The only exhibit attached is the interview granted by Wike himself in which he made allegations that the police wants to search his house in Abuja.
“He made the allegation but he did not attach the search warrant to prove it.
“Assuming without conceding that the police obtained a warrant to search the Rivers governors house in Abuja, the question is can the police execute the warrant without requiring his presence?
“The question has been answered by the Supreme Court and the answer is yes, the police can effectively do that without requiring his presence.
“So, the government house of Rivers in Abuja can be searched without the governor’s presence as there are security men there that can witness the search.”
Igbodo further submitted that the law allowed the police to gather evidence and investigate officials who had immunity, adding that a search warrant is a process of obtaining evidence during investigation.
He said the governor enjoys immunity which is not in dispute but while he enjoys immunity, he can be investigated and during the process of investigation, evidence can be gathered against him.