Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to stop anti-graft and other law enforcement agencies from searching any of his property in Abuja or anywhere else in Nigeria without his physical presence.
Wike said a search of any of his property is a violation of his rights as an Executive Governor.
He also wants the court to bar them from searching his apartment with a view to removing any item during his tenure as Rivers State Governor, since his immunity is preserved by Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
The governor is particularly asking the court to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS) and the police from searching his homes.
Counsel to Wike, Sylva Ogwemoh who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, while seeking the restraining order, prayed the court to declare that the search would violate his constitutionally-guaranteed immunity.
The governor accused the security agencies of witch-hunting, and trying to implicate him in an unspecified crime.
The governor prayed for an order “that the defendants, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or privies, cannot apply for, obtain, issue, or in any way, execute any search warrant at his residence when his tenure as governor had not expired.”
Also in an affidavit in support of the Originating Summons, Attorney General of Rivers state, Emma Aguma SAN said he knows Wike, who was sworn in as Rivers State Governor on May 29, 2015, for a four-year term.
According to the affidavit, “The intendment of the raid, according to the plaintiff, is to incriminate him in an unspecified crime through the recovery of huge sums of money, firearms and expensive wristwatches.
“The plaintiff’s news conference received wide publicity in the print and electronic media. I was further informed by the plaintiff at his Hassan Usman Katsina home, about 8pm on May 1, and I do believe him, that he knows, on good authority, that the defendants had begun the process of either applying for, or obtaining, or have already obtained a search warrant to be executed at either his aforementioned residence or some other residence of his in Port Harcourt.
“I know as a fact that a search warrant is a process of court. I also know that the plaintiff or his privy, is obligated to be present during the conduct of the search at his premises.
“I further know, as a fact, that the owner of a building is obligated to give unhindered access to his premises to the defendants, while the defendants are executing a search warrant.
“If not restrained by a court order, the defendants shall proceed to execute the said search warrant.
“The actions of the defendant shall violate his constitutional immunity; the defendants are witch-hunting him to silence and tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
“The defendants shall lose nothing if this application is granted. I make the depositions herein in good faith, believing the facts stated herein to be true and in accordance with the Oaths Act,” the affidavit added.