From FRED ITUA, Abuja
Men and officers of the Inspector General of Police Special Squad, at 8am yesterday, raided the official guesthouse of the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, at No. 10 Ganges Street, Maitama, Abuja.
According to a statement released by the Spokesman to the Deputy President of the Senate, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, the police, however, stated at the end of the search that nothing incriminating was found.
They met the steward, Oliver Ogenyi, and some of Ekweramdu’s staff and their children in the house. Even though they were informed that the property is the guesthouse of the Deputy President of the Senate, they nevertheless proceeded to thoroughly search the house without establishing any contact with him or any of his senior staff.
“The steward was taken away by the police to the Special Anti-Robbery (SARS) office, Garki, Abuja, where the IGP Special Squad’s office is also located. Ogenyi was later released after making a statement,” part of the statement reads.
Ekweremadu had on May 3, 2017, read on the floor of the Senate, a written statement by an unnamed Nigerian on an alleged plot to plant incriminating sums of foreign currencies, arms, and ammunition in a house linked to him under the pretext of the whistleblower policy.
According to the unnamed source quoted by Ekweremadu, the aim of the search was to rubbish, arrest, prosecute, and ultimately remove him from office.
The statement further reads: “The Deputy President of the Senate is a law-abiding citizen and does not dispute the fact that the security agencies are empowered by law to carry out searches on premises in accordance with the law. However, the law requires that the owner of the property or his representatives must be informed and should be present during the search.
“Senator Ekweremadu is worried about the manner in which his guesthouse was raided. The questions are: Was there a search warrant? What were they looking for? Who searched the police officers before the search? Who supervised the search? Etc.
“It is also apposite at this point to inform Nigerians that the Deputy President of the Senate had received at least three different forewarnings from various highly-placed sources before the written tip-off he read before the Senate, and they all pointed in the same direction: a clandestine effort to uproot the Senator from office by all means possible.
“Therefore, this latest act of desperation, intimidation, and disregard for due process further substantiates all the forewarnings.
“Furthermore, we have it on good authority that agencies of government are scavenging all the land registries and various banks within and outside the country to find incriminating reasons to arrest, embarrass, and prosecute him”.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Caucus late yesterday condemned in strong terms the police raid on Ekweremadu’s guesthouse in Abuja.
The Caucus in a statement in Abuja by its spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe described the police action as unwarranted, unacceptable and a deliberate attempt to muzzle the opposition.
Abaribe also faulted police explanations that they acted on whistleblower tip off.
He noted that the “failed gestapo-like operation was nothing but a smokescreen to cover up a carefully orchestrated plot to intimidate Senator Ekweremadu and by so doing cow the opposition from pointing out the failings of the government of the day.”
Meanwhile, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a statement, last night, condemned the raid.
He described the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of fascism
The statement, which was posted on his official Facebook account, reads, “This is shameful and shocking. Raiding the homes of our friends and leaders like Ekweremadu and harassing their children will not deter, stop or silence those of us that are in the opposition. It will only harden our hearts and strengthen our resolve.