The Rivers State high court on Friday ordered the Nigerian police to restrain from “arresting, detaining and harassing” a former NDDC boss, Joi Nunieh, wanted for criminal allegations.
The Port Harcourt home of Ms Nunieh was on Thursday besieged by armed police officers with footage showing some breaching her security to gain entry.
Ms Nunieh was later “rescued” by a team of state officials led by Governor Nyesom Wike and she was led to the government house.
But on Friday, the state police commissioner, Joseph Mukan, said the command expects Mr Wike to “turn in” Ms Nunieh to them because she was being investigated for some allegations levelled against her.
But in a court order with suit number PHC/1128 FHR/2020 and delivered by Justice E. N. Thompson, the police have been ordered to halt the move to arrest her until there is leave to do so.
Respectively joined in the suit, which was filed by Ms Nunieh, were the Niger Delta minister, Godswill Akpabio, Rivers State police commissioner, the State of Security Service, the Inspector-General of police, and the Nigeria Police Force.
The court also held that the security operatives deployed to Ms Nunieh’s apartment be withdrawn.
“The 1st and 2nd Respondents are restrained from using the 3rd and 5th Respondents to arrest, detam, harass and intimidate the Applicant pending the determination of the Motion on Notice,” the court order seen by this newspaper read.
“The 3rd – 5th Respondents should without delay unconditionally withdraw the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force from the premises of the Applicant pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.
“That leave is granted to the applicant to serve the 1st respondent (Mr Akpabio) through the office of the Niger Delta Development Commission situate at NDDC Head Office, Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and the 4th and 5th Respondents through the office of the 3rd Respondent situate at Nigeria Police Force, Rivers State.”
The case was afterwards adjourned to July 27.
Ms Nunieh, who led the interim management committee of the NDDC from October last year, was ousted February this year over alleged corruption in the commission.
Her sack pitched her against the Niger Delta minister, Godswill Akpabio, whom PREMIUM TIMES learnt played a role in the sack.
This has led to both officials trading allegations of corruption and other illegalities among themselves, including the former saying the minister sexually harassed her and she slapped him — a claim Mr Akpabio has denied.
The commission, whose mandate is to bridge the infrastructural gap in the oil-rich region, has fallen short of this for its two decades of existence, largely due to corruption among officials in the agency.
This has led to probes by both Houses of the National Assembly, both of whom have been accused of corruption too, as well as an order by President Muhammadu Buhari to carry out a forensic audit on the agency’s finances.