By Simeon Nwakaudu
I believe that most persons who support the undemocratic assault of the judiciary by the DSS, do so because they are not privy to the dirty conspiracy underlying these actions.
Most Nigerians are not conversant with the sustained assault of the Department of State Services (DSS) against Rivers State and the mandate freely extended by Rivers people to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. This latest assault is simply another lawless attempt to whittle down the popularity of the People’s Governor in the country.
It is a deep-seated illegal onslaught on Rivers State premised on the greed/lust for Rivers resources by leaders of the APC who illegally benefitted from corruptly acquired Rivers funds during the 2015 general election campaigns. Having tasted free stolen funds from the immediate past governor, these APC officials are determined to go to any shameful length to destabilise Rivers State.
The DSS anti-democratic and anti-Rivers invasions started in October 2015 at the height of the proceedings of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal which sat in Abuja.
The DSS, Police and Army High Commands after receiving approvals from the leadership of the APC detailed security clowns to testify against the election of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. These operatives under cross examination all faltered as they admitted that they did not directly participate in the election. They admitted that their testimonies were based on rumours.
However, when Governor Wike and PDP subpoenaed the senior security personnel who directly provided security for the April 11, 2015 Governorship election, armed DSS Operatives stormed the venue of the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja . Their objective was to stop these security personnel from mounting the witness box. They claimed they had orders from above to arrest the security witnesses.
Heavily Armed Department of State Services, DSS, operatives stormed the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to arrest a retired subpoenaed commander , Emmanuel Philips who testified that the election was peaceful, credible and without cases of violence.
They could not arrest the retired commander as lawyers and journalists demanded for arrest warrant which they failed to produce.
A day before, the same DSS made an attempt to arrest an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Akuki Kenneth who testified that the Rivers State Governorship Election was peaceful , but was resisted by lawyers.
Having failed to stop these security officers from testifying, the DSS used pro-APC online and mainstream media outfits to circulate disparaging false allegations against Governor Wike.
Following the failure that met the DSS desperate attempt to abduct a Federal High Court judge in Port Harcourt on 8th October, 2016p, the same organisation has approached her media associates in the APC to hatch and circulate false reports.
I read on Premium Times and later shared by Sahara Reporters the claim that the DSS wanted to arrest a judge of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt because he allegedly gave a judgment that favoured the Ahmed Makarfi led PDP National Caretaker Committee.
These pro-APC online and mainstream media outfits are quoting “competent security sources” as premise for whatever illogical falsehood they want to spin. However, each time you read these outlets, know that it is part of the desperate thinking of the APC.
One fact is now out in the open, sacked former PDP National Chairman received backing from the APC, hence the venomous reprisal by the DSS. This has been explained by the APC media brought in to do damage control for the party.
However , the fundamental aim of Governor Wike as regards his timely intervention was to sustain the rule of law as far as Rivers State is concerned. As the duly elected chief executive and Chief security officer of the state , he had a responsibility to ensure that due process was followed.
The statement by the National Chairman of APC when he received the defeated Rivers State APC Governorship Candidate , Dakuku Peterside lays credence to the party’s ignoble desperation .
Chief Odigie-Oyegun said: “We have lost very important resource-rich states to the PDP. No matter how crude oil prices have fallen, it is still the most important revenue earner for the country.”
Since then, the APC leadership both at the Federal and Rivers State level have sponsored attacks on the judiciary , questioning the validation of the election of Governor Wike by the Supreme Court .
Despite the sponsorship of destructive propaganda against Governor Wike , he has continued to stand on the truth, promoting the principles of the rule of law and due process.
Upon assumption of duty as Governor , Nyesom Ezenwo Wike revived the State Judiciary that was left comatose by the immediate past governor of Rivers State Governor.
The governor has also stabilised the judiciary by ensuring peaceful transition of the leadership of the State Judiciary on the premise of the laid down succession rule. The Rivers State Judiciary now enjoys financial autonomy , with massive infrastructural development taking place in the courts.
Welfare of judicial officers has been given top priority , while the State Government recently handed over the uultra-modern NBA Law Centre to the Port Harcourt Branch of the NBA to improve research and the rule of law in the state.
Governor Wike’s promotion of the rule of law is known to all. His defence of due process is always in the interest of the state and the society.
As Rivers State Chief Security officer , he has always worked hard to protect all residents of Rivers State .
Addressing the people of Rivers State last Saturday night during a special dinner for the management and players of Rivers United at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the weak blackmail of the DSS will not lessen the crime they have committed against the Nigerian State by assaulting the judiciary.
He noted that nobody is deceived by the concocted figures being circulated by the DSS.
He said: “Their blackmail stories will not move me. They will concoct all kinds of stories to justify this undemocratic illegality perpetrated against the judiciary.
“It is really unfortunate that DSS would concoct a false defence that $2million USD , (that is N900million) was found in the house of the judge.It is unfortunate that the DSS is coming up with flimsy excuses. “
It will be recalled that the governor and the DSS Operatives had their encounter outside the gate of the residence. It is therefore ridiculous that the DSS remained outside to decare thar N900million was found in the residence.
The governor noted that while he does not condone corruption , he will never support any process that is targeted at ruining the nation’s judiciary.
He stated that the National Judicial Council has the responsibility to discipline erring and corrupt judges, after which indicted judicial officers are handed over to the relevant law enforcement agency for prosecution.
The governor said that the Police, Army and other para-military agencies have their respective processes for the discipline of erring and corrupt officers.
“In the police, erring and corrupt policemen are first given orderly room trial, sacked and then appropriately prosecuted. For Judicial Officers, the DSS has no role”, he said.
Governor Wike added: “This impunity must stop.I am not in support of any judicial support being involved in corruption. What we are saying is that the right things must be done. We must not do things that will jeopardise our hard earned democracy”.
All other well meaning Nigerians and groups have insisted on the rule of law . The general agreement is that corruption must be fought within the ambit of the law.
According to the National Judicial Council after its marathon meeting, NJC: “expresses its grave concern on the recent invasion of the Residences and arrest of some serving and suspended Judicial Officers by the Department of State Services (“DSS”); and condemned the action in its entirety.
“Viewed the action as a threat to the Independence of the Judiciary, which portends great danger to our democracy; and also considered the action as a clear attempt by the DSS to humiliate, intimidate, denigrate and cow the Judiciary.”
The NBA at the end of his second crisis management meeting on 13th October , 2016 declared thus: “That the NBA reiterates in unmistakeable terms its commitment to the fight against corruption and commits itself to collaborate with the Federal Government in bringing culprits to justice whether Judges or ordinary people. However, we will only do this within the ambit of the law and in accordance with due process.”
It was the great act of courage by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Saturday , 8th October , 2016 that saved the day for the nation’s judiciary . Otherwise , by now, operatives of the DSS would have hunted down all judicial officers believed to be impartial and not dancing to expected tunes.
It was that singular act that brought the entire illegality to the National frontburner . Otherwise , the Nigerian people would have been subjected to an overdose of media trial, which will eventually destroy one of the most important structures of democracy .
Those who know Governor Wike well understand that he is not moved by falsehood and propaganda . The actions of the DSS being sponsored by prominent corrupt elements of Rivers APC will not stop the governor from defending the rule of law .
Governor Wike has the constitutional responsibility to promote and defend due process, rule of law and constitutional democracy . So far, he has lived up to the expectations of the people in these regards. He has moved Rivers State away from the days of impunity when the immediate past governor practically welded the gates of the courts, drove away judicial officers and lawyers and instituted a regime of lawlessness .
The 8th October , 2016 action of Governor Wike disseminated one message unequivocally : “Never again , will anyone, no matter his connection and iill-gotten wealth be allowed to drag Rivers State back to the days of impunity.”
- This Best Outside Opinion was written by Simeon Nwakaudu, the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor , Electronic Media .