From Paul Obiajunwo, PortHarcourt
Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the state, yesterday, condemned Governor Nyesom Wike interference in the arrest of Judge of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
The coalition which include Alliance for Transparency and Good Governance, (ATGG) Vanguard for Justice, Equity and Strategy, (VJES) and Rivers Pathfinders, said the show of strength culminating in the attack of State Security Operatives by Gov. Wike was a show of political rascality.
Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, the coordinator of the ATGG, Hon Erasmus Nwankpa expressed dismay that the Governor of a state will brazenly obstruct the constitutional powers of the Directorate of State Service, (DSS) to arrest accused person.
Nwamkpa said: “As an organization, this is the first time in the history of Nigeria and anywhere in the world for a civilian no matter what title he or her is bearing could be seen to be obstructing arrest.
Similarly, the coordinator of VJES, Barr. Jerome Green, who regretted the attitude of Wike in trying to stop the arrest of a judge of a Federal High Court in the state said Wike’s behavour should not be described as courageous.
“I believe Governor. Wike who is a lawyer should know the law relating to who has the power to arrest, but if he actually went out by 1am as being reported just to protect a judge from being arrested then it is suspicious.
“What then will be the interest of Gov Wike to secure and frustrate the lawful duty of the state security service”, Jarome queried.
In a reaction, the leader of Rivers Pathfinders, Mr. Abiye Sokari-George described what happened in Rivers State as a show of gangsterism, stressing that Wike has reduced governance and office of the Governor of the state to gambling.
Sokari-George said: “We are aware that the Judge involved is the same judicial officer that was accused of receiving monetary gratification from Gov Wike’s administration on the bases of which he granted unconditional bail to Kenneth Kobani, who is Gov Wike’ secretary to state government in a case of treasonable felony.
“We are aware also that the said Judge Gov. Wike had gone to frustrate his arrest handled the high profile case of Markafi, Sheriff and PDP, a matter which was resolved in favour of Markafi, which attracted wide condemnation from judicial watchers.
“The opinion in Rivers State now is that Wike’s should be called to order. Are there no governors in Gombe and other states of the Federation were judges were arrested?” he asked.