Police asks Wike to surrender Nunieh
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt presided by Justice E. Thompson on Friday barred the police and other security agencies in the country from arresting the former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Joi Nunieh.
On Thursday, heavily-armed policemen had laid siege to Ms. Nunieh’s home in the Rivers State capital.
The policemen, who allegedly went to the place on the order of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, were trying to force their way into the woman’s residence before Governor Nyesom Wike raced to the place and whisked her to the Government House in Port Harcourt.
She was expected to appear before the House of Representatives committee probing alleged misappropriation of N40 billion in the commission before the incident.
The judge, who gave the order after listening to an ex parte application filed by Nunieh’s counsel, Slyvester Adaka, also restrained the NDDC or any other body from arresting the ex-managing director pending the hearing and determination of the matter before the court.
Reacting to the development, the police on Friday told Rivers Governor Wike to hand over Nunieh to them.
Rivers Police Commissioner, Joseph Mukan, made the demand during a meeting with Wike in Port Harcourt, pointing out that the former MD was facing an investigation over a petition for which she was required to enable the police conclude their probe.
He expressed confidence that Wike would turn her in so as not to be seen as obstructing police investigation.
While acknowledging the Governor was right to have acted to save a citizen from a situation that was not clear to him, he said having known the reason behind the police operation, he should transfer Nunieh to the police.
Explaining the position of the police on what transpired at Nunieh’s residence on Thursday, the Police chief said: “What actually happened was the IGP Monitoring Unit came in from Abuja on a legitimate duty to invite the ex-MD to Abuja but unfortunately she refused to honour the invitation. She instead called the governor, who came to whisk her to the government house.
“It wasn’t a surprise as such. It depends on the urgency of the matter on ground. It is a serious petition, which needs a serious solution. They came peacefully to invite her but she resisted that invitation.
“We expect the Governor to turn her in because the officers were not on illegal duty. He was right to say that he wanted to protect his citizen but now that he realised that the officers were on legitimate duty, then he should turn her over to the police to continue their investigation, which I believe he will do that.
“She is under suspicion and investigation will show whether she is culpable or not. But when investigation is being obstructed how do you come up with a conclusive investigation?
“We were there to invite her and normal procedures were followed. They introduced themselves to her, explained their mission to her but she did not cooperate with them only for her to call the Governor, who came into her residence. If she had followed them all these drama could not have arisen”.
On Nunieh’s claim the police authorities did not know anything about the operation, he said: ” She is being economical with the truth. The officers came to our command and we endorsed their investigation activities. We are aware of their presence here, so nobody can say we were not aware.
“We are expecting the Governor to turn her over now that it is confirmed that the officers were on legitimate duty. So, I don’t believe he is going to stop the police from doing their job. He will surely hand her over for proper investigation. He cannot block the investigation. He is an officer of the law too. He is a lawyer”.
On the high number of the policemen involved in the operation and the timing, Mukan said: ” She is not alone in her house. She had handful of policemen in her house. She had over 20 security personnel protecting her in her house. So, our men don’t have to take any chance. So, it is not unusual to deploy such number.
“The time was being exaggerated. What time did the Governor come to evacuate her. If she says they came to her house by 4am? We believe the Governor will do the needful. I was with the Governor and I told him to hand her over. He will hand her over.”
Police asks Wike to surrender Nunieh