Governor Nyesom Wike has explained why he intervened early Saturday as the State Security Services and the Police laid siege on the home of a federal judge in Port Harcourt.
Operatives of the SSS launched an overnight assault on the residences of senior judges across the country between Friday and Saturday, and reportedly brutalised Mr. Wike as he intervened in Rivers State.
Attempts were also made to arrest two Supreme Court judges.
The official quarters of Walter Onoghen, who was recently recommended to President Buhari as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria, and Sylvester Ngwuta also of the Supreme Court, were besieged by the SSS for several hours overnight.
Multiple sources said the clampdown began in Gombe State where the SSS arrested Muazu Pindigi who served on the elections tribunal in Rivers State.
The operation continued in Abuja on Friday night into early Saturday morning.
Mr. Wike arrived as the operation to arrest an unnamed judge residing at Number 35 Forces Avenue in Port Harcourt began, the governor’s spokesperson, Simeon Nwakaudu, said in a statement.
Mr. Wike was quoted as telling journalists that he would not allow the SSS and other security agencies perpetrate “needless impunity” in the state.
He said if the security agencies had a lawful directive to implement, they must follow due process.
“Not under my watch will I allow this kind of impunity to take place,” the governor was quoted as saying. “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.”
Mr. Wike said he had been threatened by armed agents who wanted to attack him.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Wike added: “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.”