The resident media consultant to the Rivers State government, Mr. David Iyofor has described the recent activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the state as lawless.
Iyofor who made this known yesterday while speaking to newsmen in Abuja pointed out that the charging to court of Chief of Staff, Nyeson Wike as a violation of rule of law by EFCC, which according to him, defied court orders restraining the commission from charging Wike to court.
Specifics of the order which was issued at the Rivers State High Court, declared the arrest and detention of Chief Nyeson Wike on October 6 as unlawful, "that the arrest and detention of the applicant in the course of the unlawful inquiry of the respondent into the financial affairs of Rivers State is unlawful, unconstitutional and an infringement of the fundamental rights of the applicant to personal liberty, freedom of movement and personal dignity".
While condemning the continued detention of Wike by EFCC, the order requested the immediate release of the applicant from detention as well as a stay of further actions on matters relating to further infringement of the applicant's fundamental rights pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Further, the court order which was signed by Bethel Okwu, assistant chief registrar compelled the commission to pay N3 billion to the applicant as monetary compensation or aggravated damages for the infringement of the fundamental rights of the applicant, while adjourning the motion on notice to October 20, 2008.
Consequently, the charging to court of the COS, according to Rivers State officials was a disregard for the court order issued, and by extension a disregard for rule of law. According to Iyofor, "the order was received and signed by the commission at 8.30am of Thursday but the commission still went ahead with the court case six hours later. The order should have been honoured by the commission. It is surprising because we gave all our support to EFCC about a month ago when the investigations started".
Speaking on the arrest of the SSG, the consultant maintained that the action was baseless and unjust given the fact that the wasn't invited to appear before the commission. He said the SSG had visited EFCC office to personally deliveer a letter stating reasons for the absence of the state's commissioner of finance and accountant general. "The SSG just went there out of goodwill but the commission detained him unlawfully and interrogated him for 48 hours. This is wrong because the commission gave no reason for their action", he said.
Although Magnus was on Wednesday evening released by EFCC, citizens of Rivers State are demanding a rational for his arrest and detention. Sources within the state have described the commission's action as a politically based one as it would be revealed that the commission had at one point interfered in the campaign and election of Governor Amaechi.