The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday fixed May 9 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the governor of Rivers, Mr Nyesom Wike, against the Inspector-General of Police (I-G)and two others.
Wike is seeking an order of injunction restraining the I-G, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Service (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.
Mr Sylva Ogwemoh, (SAN), counsel to Wike told the court that what the suit sought was the interpretation of a section of the 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).”
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 that the submission by the counsel to the Police that it had the discretion to search his 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.
Mr David Igbodo, counsel to the I-G, in 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 search warrant to search the Rivers governors house in Abuja, the question is, can the police execute the search 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 was a process of obtaining evidence during investigation.
According to him, the governor enjoys immunity which was not in dispute, noting that while he enjoys immunity, he could be investigated and during the process of investigation, evidence could be gathered against him.
Counsel to the DSS, Mr O. Atoyebi also urged the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that it was an attempt by the governor to prevent the service from performing its statutory functions.
Mrs Elizabeth Alabi, counsel to the EFCC also opposed the application and prayed the court to dismiss it, saying that the commission had no business in the suit and was wrongfully joined.
She also asked the court to award N100,000 cost against the governor.
Justice Mohammed reserved judgment in the matter to May 9.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit was filed in June 2017 by Ogwemoh on behalf of Wike.
Among other reliefs, Wike is seeking a declaration that by virtue of the provisions of Section 308 of the Constitution, the I-G, the EFCC and the DSS cannot apply for, obtain, issue or execute any court process compelling his presence.(NAN)