The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris has claimed that the suit filed by the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, challenging the (probe: thorough investigation into a crime or other matter) into the killings and violence during the rerun election in the state was intended to cover his misdeeds.
Idris added that Wike’s move to investigate the violence, for which he is being investigated, was a desperate move to shatter the outcome of the probe by the IGP’s Special Investigating Panel, SIP.
The Inspector General made the claim through the notice of preliminary or preceding objection against the suit filed by the governor at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
An objection filed on behalf of the IGP by Femi Falana, SAN, maintained that the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by Wike had no power to look into the crimes committed during the rerun election in Rivers and prosecute the culprits.
According to him, pursuant to Section 150 of the Electoral Act, the crimes committed during the rerun were federal offences, which could not be investigated and prosecuted by the plaintiffs.
The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/13/2017, filed by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, for the plaintiffs, has Wike and the attorney general as plaintiffs.
The defendants are the IGP, Department of State Services, DSS, and a deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro.
The IGP argued that, “Even though a combined team of the Army, police and other security personnel were on ground during the election, criminal elements committed many crimes and unleashed violence on unarmed voters and electoral officers.
“Two policemen were beheaded by a criminal gang. Based on complaints received from several members of the public, coupled with the crimes committed in the presence of security personnel, the 1st defendant (IGP) decided to set up a special investigation panel of the police headed by the 3rd defendant to investigate the killings and other electoral offences which occurred during the rerun election.
“The 1st and 3rd defendants have made progress in the investigation being conducted into the crimes. Among the several arrests of the criminal suspects made, is that of the fellow, who stole the telephone handset of the beheaded Deputy Superintendent of Police.
“The bodies of the beheaded policemen have also been recovered while the tape of the telephone conversation between Governors Wike and Ayodele Fayose on the rerun election is being analysed.
“The policemen, who accompanied the 2nd plaintiff (Wike) when he stormed polling units and the collation centre, have been identified, investigated and dismissed by the Police Service Commission (PSC), while the 1st defendant has ordered that they be tried for contravening the provisions of the Electoral Act when they illegally accompanied the 2nd plaintiff to polling units and collation centre.
“In a desperate move to cover up the grave crimes perpetrated during the rerun election and shield him from investigation, the 2nd plaintiff is praying this honourable court to stop the 1st and 3rd defendants from carrying out their statutory duty of investigating the crimes on the ground that he had set up a judicial commission of enquiry.
“Based on the questions for determination and the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, the defendants have challenged the jurisdiction of this court to hear and determine this case,“ the 1st and 3rd defendants said.