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Wike Tackles NBA, Falana Over Calls For Arrested Rivers APC Lawyers’ Release

The governor said one must not interfere in a police investigation.


A photo combination of Nyesom Wike, Femi Falana, and Yakubu Maikyau

 

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has criticised the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau; and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, over their calls for the release of All Progressives Congress (APC) lawyers arrested in the state.

The three APC lawyers reportedly arrested on Saturday, April 1 at a hotel in the state were said to have been working on a petition for Rivers APC in the March 18 governorship election.

While Maikyau condemned the arrest, Falana urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, to order the lawyers’ release.

The Rivers State Police Command explained that the lawyers were arrested on suspicion of forgery, but released them hours after their apprehension.

READ ALSO: Why Rivers Post-Election Crisis Is ‘Nothing Abnormal’ – Wike

In a live media chat broadcast from Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Wike argued that the police should have been encouraged to investigate the lawyers.

“There is nothing wrong if you have intelligence that people are producing INEC documents in a hotel and in the police arresting them,” the governor said.

“What we expected is for the police to investigate: Were they really printing INEC documents or not? And not for people to say, ‘They went and arrested lawyers that were preparing for election petitions.’”

In his view, when there is intelligence that something suspicious is going on, one must be proactive to ensure the issue is nipped in the bud.

“Does it mean because you say lawyers perpetrated it, therefore they cannot be arrested? Of course, I don’t take Femi Falana seriously. NBA president issued a statement that the lawyers must be released. It was so surprising,” he said.

“Why not say, ‘Police, if you say you arrested lawyers believing that you have intelligence on this, we’re giving you within 24 hours to make sure they are charged to court or you come out with a report’?”

The governor said one must not interfere in a police investigation.

“You can’t use us to be popular among lawyers because the NBA president knows that his own administration is not doing well,” he said.

“And so, the only way they can show that they’re doing well is by coming out to say, ‘Release the lawyers.’”