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Wike, Reps Ask FG To Probe Raid On Justice Odili’s Residence

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State
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November 01, (THEWILL) – Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Federal Government to probe the invasion of the residence of Justice Mary Odili.

Wike, on behalf of Rivers State elders, federal and state lawmakers and council chairmen made the call during a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday.

The governor said they have observed a pattern of persistent harassment of the Odili’s family in recent times by agencies of the Federal Government.

He recalled that on the fateful day the Supreme Court nullified the election victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, hoodlums suspected to be political thugs invaded the residence of Justice Odili, but the federal government did not take any steps to bring the culprits to book.

Governor Wike noted that just recently Dr. Odili had legitimately travelled out of the country for medicals, but on his arrival, his international passport was confiscated for inexplicable reasons by the Immigration Service.

He said initially  the federal government had feigned ignorance of the seizure of Odili’s passport. But, after the former governor approached the court to enforce his fundamental human right, the immigration service eventually came up with excuse to justify their act.

The Governor described as most worrisome last Friday’s invasion of the residence of Justice Odili by federal government security agencies that allegedly claimed they had a warrant issued by a Magistrate Court to search the property.

According to Wike, though the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had denied involvement in the siege on Justice Odili’s residence, the people of Rivers State consider his denial as unsatisfactory.

While noting that it is not enough for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS) to claim ignorance, the governor questioned the group that secured a court order for the search warrant.

He charged the Federal Government to within 48 hours apprehend all those involved in the raid of the residence of the Supreme Court justice, the alleged whistle blower and also interrogate the Magistrate who issued the order.

Governor Wike said the people of Rivers State fear that the motive of those who invaded Odili’s residence may have been to assassin the Supreme Court justice, her husband and children.

He declared that the lives of Justice Odili and her husband are important to the people of Rivers State and that the federal government must ensure nothing sinister happen to them.

“We are taking steps as a government and people of the state to see that this matter is concluded and find out who are those who are the perpetrators.

“We think that there is an attempt to assassinate Justice Mary Odili, the husband and members of the family, there are no two ways about it. If they had succeeded, all the Federal Government would have told us (is that) we will get to the bottom of the matter because that has always been the normal language.

“The issue here has nothing to do with the Attorney General, we are happy he said he is not aware. We said, okay since you are not aware, we are giving you 48 hours to tell us who is responsible.

“We are telling the world if anything happens to the family of Dr Peter Odili, the Federal Government should be held accountable because they have shown that there is something they are about carrying out.

“If anything happens to my Lord, Justice Mary Odili, the husband and the children, the Federal Government should be held responsible.

“That is the position of the Rivers State government and Rivers people because enough is enough!”, he said.

Meanwhile, the House of  Representatives Committee on Judiciary has called for a discreet investigation to unravel the persons behind the invasion.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Onofiok Luke in a statement issued on Sunday, described the invasion as an assault on the sanctity on the nation’s judiciary.

Luke said it was mind boggling that in the dusk of 29 October 2021, the Judiciary was once again exposed to public redicule, due to the uncanny manner in which the residence of Justice Odili of the Supreme Court was invaded by law enforcement officials purportedly on an assignment to execute a search warrant, issued by a Magistrate

He noted that the ignoble act was capable of straining the existing relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive arms of our democratic government.

Luke noted that disturbing was the fact that the said warrant was revoked by the issuing Magistrate who had discovered that it was procured by the Applicant on the premises of misrepresented facts.

The lawmaker therefore condemned in totality such ignoble action, and pledged to every effort at ensuring the sanctity of the nation’s judiciary while giving continuous support to the independence of the judiciary.

“This unfortunate development is also a wake-up call to tighten administrative and supervisory control over the operations of law enforcement agencies in the country.”

“As a Committee currently interfacing with the judiciary for an improved judicial reform and justice system, we wish to lend our voice once again, to the repeated call by His Lordship; the Honourable Justice Tanko Muhammed CJN, on all Judicial Officers on the need to exercise more caution in issuing ex-parte, conflicting and questionable orders that are capable of bringing disrepute to our Justice system”, he said.

Luke stressed that the siege, was a reminiscent of the 2016 incident, where in the beat of the night, security agencies invaded private residences of judicial officers, which subsequently turned out as an underserved phenomenon, and a dent on the professed independence of the judiciary, and demanding protection for judges.

“On this note, the House of Representative Committee on the Judiciary calls for a discreet investigation to unravel the persons behind this ignoble act, which is capable of straining the existing relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive arms of our democratic government”, he added.

The lawmaker assured that the committee would collaborate with the judiciary and relevant stakeholders to secure the nation’s democracy, since the confidence and respect of citizens in the judiciary may likely wane if incidence of this nature continues unchecked.