The Federal High Court in Abuja ruled on Wednesday that search warrants could not be applied for or executed against a serving President, Vice-President, Governors or Deputy Governors.
Delivering a judgment, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, therefore, stopped any alleged plan to apply for a search warrant and execute same at the residences of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Abuja and other parts of the country.
Justice Mohammed made the restraining order against the Nigeria Police Force, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services, who were the defendants in a suit instituted by Wike on May 4, 2017.
The suit in which the judgment was delivered on Wednesday was targeted against the police which Wike said had last year applied for a search warrant to be executed on his houses around the country.
In his verdict, the judge agreed with Wike’s lawyer, Mr. Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN), that no court process such as a search warrant could be applied for or issued by the court against a serving governor such as Wike who enjoys immunity under section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
The judgment drew a contrast between sections 149 and 150 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, on one hand, and section 308(1)(c) of the Nigerian Constitution, on the other hand, a scenario which worked in favour of the four categories of the public officials clothed with constitutional immunity.
The contrast favoured serving governors and others enjoying immunity under section 308 of the Nigerian constitution.
The judge noted that the Supreme Court had in its judgment delivered in the case of Gani Fawehinmi vs. Inspector-General of Police in 2002 prohibited any situation that could warrant a law enforcement agent from encountering a serving governor in the course of executing a court process against such governor during a criminal investigation.
The judge noted that the Supreme Court in the said judgment held that a serving governor could be investigated for criminal allegations but not to the extent that would require the physical presence of the suspected governor.