Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said he was rough-handled by operatives of the police and the Department of Security Service (DSS) during a failed attempt to abduct a Federal High Court judge in Port Harcourt, in the early hours of Saturday.
The governor, in a statement issued by his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, also claimed that the failed illegal abduction was part of a plot to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State.
He alleged that the failed abduction of the judge (whose name was not disclosed), residing at Number 35 Forces Avenue in Port Harcourt, was led by the state Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr Tosin Ajayi and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Francis Odesanya.
Governor Wike said he would not allow security agencies to perpetrate impunity under his watch, declaring that their reckless action portend danger to the nation’s democracy.
The governor said he was convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of the alleged impunity being perpetrated by the security agencies, insisting that whatever the situation, the rule of law must prevail in a democratic setting.
“Not under my watch will I allow this kind of impunity to take place. That is why we are here. I don’t know which judge they were detailed to abduct. I didn’t bother myself to know which judge. All I am interested in is that, at this level, it is not allowed.
“He is not a criminal and he is not an armed robber. If the person has committed an offence, invite him. It is only when he refuses to honour the invitation that you can adopt this commando style.
“The Commissioner of Police is here, the Director of DSS is here. Their operatives cocked their guns and threatened to shoot me. I have never seen that before. Again, this is to tell you what we are facing. We know that more will come. For us in this state, we shall continue to resist it.
“It doesn’t matter what it will cost. When you talk about liberty, sacrifices must be made. We are not trying to stop an arrest. All we are saying is that things must be done decently and in line with the rule of law.
“Rivers State is under siege. For you to see a governor out at this time of the day, something is wrong. A siege is an understatement. If this type of thing happens next time, the people will resist it to the last. They are trying to do something funny in this state, probably to declare a state of emergency,” Wike said.
According to the statement, the DSS operatives reportedly rough-handled Wike, dragging and pushing him around and injuring his hand in the process, while a few of them cocked their rifles and threatened to shoot him.
They were said to had been irked by the governor’s arrival at the scene shortly after the failed abduction process began, having received security information on the illegal moves, minutes after the operation started.
However, the commotion attracted passers by and journalists who thronged the vicinity to know why hundreds of security agents in several patrol vans had been mobilised.
While the security operatives were said to have insisted on taking away the judge, the state Director of DSS was said to had jumped into his vehicle and fled the scene, upon the arrival of some newsmen.
The state Commissioner of Police however, reportedly said the two security agencies were at the scene, acting upon a privileged information, adding that he was particularly there as a peace-maker.