My dear people of Rivers State
Today, 11th May 2018, operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) invaded the State High Court complex, Port Harcourt, blocked all entrances and for hours, prevented judicial workers, judges, litigants and lawyers from gaining access into their offices and courtrooms to carryout their judicial duties and businesses.
2. While the siege lasted, organized hoodlums from a faction of the State’s All Peoples Congress (APC) loyal to the Minister of Transport Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi freely harassed innocent persons, including lawyers and destroyed public property, including private vehicles packed in the Court premises.
3. The brazen assault on the State’s Judiciary was carried out by the Police on the direct instructions from the said faction of the APC, which feared that the rival faction loyal to Senator Magnus Abe might obtain an injunction against the continuation of their highly disputed and rancorous party congresses.
4. As we all know, the responsibility of the Police is among other things, to provide adequate protection to our courts and judicial officers to discharge their constitutional responsibilities without fear or intimidation by any other person or authority.
5. While a breach of this responsibility is a serious offence; it is treasonable when in this case, there is clear evidence of conspiracy by the Police officers with some known political rascals to willfully overwhelm the judiciary and thwart the course of justice.
6. Over and over again, the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) continues to lend its men and instruments to the services of opposition elements to sabotage our security architecture, undermine State institutions and abuse the human rights of our people.
7. All these are in furtherance of actualizing the ignominious political template of the APC to rig the 2019 general elections in the state and unlawfully wrest power from the people by all means.
8. We therefore call on the Federal Government to investigate the circumstances that led to the invasion and assault on the State’s judiciary and bring all the culprits to justice in order to stop a reoccurrence and avert a chaos orchestrated by those who seek power at all cost using the police.
9. Where this is not done, the Federal Government should be ready to be accountable for any breakdown of law and order in Rivers State given the readiness of the people to resist the Police and defend their democratic rights to live in peace and freely elect their leaders.
10. Against this background, I wish to commend our youths for their patriotism and gallantry in resisting the shameful assault and attempt by the police to shut down our courts for political ends.
11. We have said in many clear terms that never again will unscrupulous politicians shut our courts for business as they did three years ago and the youths have reaffirmed that this commitment can never be in vain.
12. However, while we revel in today’s victory over evil, we must not lower our guards. We should be prepared for more political battles in the days and months ahead, even as I urge our people to be law-abiding and avoid the temptations of taking the laws into your hands.
13. Nevertheless it is important to warn those whose stock in trade is to continually cause trouble, endanger our peace and task the patience of law abiding people in Rivers State that there is a limit to everything.
14. Finally, I wish to reassure Rivers people, once again of our commitment to protect our democratic institutions from those who do not mean well for the progress of our State.
15. As we continue to take our State on a path to sustainable peace and irreversible progress may God protect us from our enemies and crown our efforts with success.
16. Thank you, and may God continue to bless Rivers State.