The Federal High Court, Abuja, has declared as il­legal, the joint panel con­stituted by the Inspec­tor-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to investigate alleged infractions during the December 10, 2016 re-run elections in Rivers.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who delivered the judgment on Tues­day in Abuja, described the panel as a “strange illegal contraption un­known to law”.
This is the second case that the courts have ruled in favour of Gov­ernor Nyesom Wike.
On Monday, the Appeal Court (Port Harcourt Division) ruled that the panel setup by Governor Wike to probe the administration of for­mer governor of the state, Mr. Roti­mi Amaechi, was in order. The ap­pellate court therefore dismissed Amaechi’s suit.
Yesterday, the trial judge stated that although the Police Act gave the police the powers to carry out such investigations, there was nowhere in the Act that allowed the police to bring in another body.
He said: “Section 4 of the Po­lice Act allows the Police to set up such a panel to carry out investiga­tions, the section does not, howev­er, state that the police can carry out such an investigation with appara­tus outside the force.”
According to the News Agen­cy of Nigeria (NAN), Justice Kola­wole said that the special panel set­up by the IGP which also included members of the Department of State Services (DSS) was unknown to law and therefore unconstitutional.
He said that the Attorney-Gen­eral of the Federation and Minister of Justice must be cautious in using the report presented to him by such a panel since it was an illegal body.
The judge, however, refused to quash the report of the panel as sought by the plaintiff on the ground that it was not before him and he could not, therefore, take action on what was not before him.
He added that the report of the panel, if it contained useful informa­tion could be turned over to a prop­er body under the law.
Justice Kolawole stated that the other prayers sought by the plaintiffs were “ungrantable” since the reliefs sought had been overtaken by events as the panel had submitted its report to the Attorney-General.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State had challenged the set­ting up of the Nigerian Police Spe­cial Joint Investigation Panel on the December 10 re-run election by the IGP.
Governor Wike, along with the Rivers State government, the sec­ond plaintiff in the suit, prayed the court to nullify the outcome of Po­lice investigation into violence that marred the legislative re-run election in the state.
The governor queried the legal­ity of the probe panel that was con­stituted by the IGP.
The IGP had set up the panel to uncover those who mastermind­ed violence and other electoral mal­practices during the election.
The panel which also had of­ficers of the DSS as members was chaired by Mr. Damian Okoro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP).-The Authority