The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Unity House Foundation (UHF), have condemned the invasion of the Port Harcourt residence of the immediate-past Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Joi Nunieh, by operatives of the Nigerian Police .
Policemen, who claimed to have been sent by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had in the early hours of Thursday invaded Nunieh’s Port Harcourt residence with the aim of arresting her, but were prevented by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, who stormed the scene and took her away to Government House, Port Harcourt.
Reacting to the ugly development, Chairperson of FIDA in Rivers State, Ngozi Odukwe-Ighosevbe, described the invasion of her residence as ‘wrong, erroneous and infringement on her human rights’.
Odukwe-Ighosevbe said: “It is wrong, erroneous and an infringement on her human rights. The procedure is completely wrong. I also understand that the Commissioner of Police was not aware of the incident.
“It is a total violation of her rights. There was no evidence of warrant of arrest from the court or police. We concerned the action completely. We see it as a ploy to deter get from making more revelations about the NDDC.
“If people are given assignments, they should be allowed to do their job. Joi (Nunieh) is a woman of integrity. We stand by her. We encourage her to hold her ground, especially in the fight against correction. She should maintain her integrity and not be cowed by anybody or situation. She should speak out boldly as ever.”
In his own reaction, Convener of Unity House Foundation (UHF), a good governance advocacy group, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, condemned the invasion of Nunieh’s Port Harcourt residence by armed policemen.
Wali stated that such action by whoever must have sent the policemen amounts to desperation, fear, and oppression taken too far.
He wondered why the policemen were in the residence of former NDDC boss without the knowledge of Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan who under normal circumstances should have been briefed before such operation.
Wali wondered why anybody in the police hierarchy would hold a Nigerian citizen hostage without any warrant nor explanation as to why the armed security men were in her residence at such unholy hours.
He said: “This clearly is not ordinary. We are aware of the probe of the NDDC by the National Assembly and recent altercations between and among powerful forces within and outside the Niger Delta. Who would want to orchestrate this kind of Gestapo operation?
“Why would anybody who has nothing to fear plan this kind of oppression and intimidation, especially when she is meant to appear before the House of Reps Committee probe on NDDC? This is indeed a sad development.
“Could it be that those who have held the NDDC hostage are the ones planning this or are there more issues than what we know already? Something is clearly fishy here and the government holds the sacred responsibility to protect her life,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the immediate-past Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Joi Nunieh, has accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, of being responsible for the invasion of her residence by operatives of the Nigerian Police.
Nunieh, who spoke with Government House Correspondents in Port Harcourt, said the aim of the invasion was to prevent her from appearing before the House of Representatives Committee by 4:00pm yesterday.
She stated that she was taking refuge in Government House, Port Harcourt, following her rescue from her residence by Governor Wike, pointing out that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Joseph Mukan was not aware of the mission of the Police operatives from Abuja.
The former NDDC Acting Managing Director thanked the governor for coming to her rescue and living up to his promise that no harm will come to any daughter of Rivers State.
Nunieh said: “Early this morning around 4 O’clock, I learnt that people were around my gate. I made some calls and I tried to reach the state governor because he told that if I see any strange movement that I should alert him because he had issued a statement.
“I tried to reach him but his phones were off. Then, I called some people and they said they may not be real policemen, so I should stay. They said they came to take me away and I said for what. So they have a warrant of arrest and they said no warrant of arrest. So, I left it.
“At about 6:00am, they broke the gate. Then, Senator Magnus Abe now called me and said he has reached the Commissioner of Police; he said he doesn’t know anything about it. The CP called me, I sent him my address and he came.
“They told me the CP was downstairs, but the CP wasn’t down. It think it was the Deputy Commissioner of Police. So, I opened the door and they wanted to grab me; I now pushed back the door, locked it and went upstairs. I got through to my governor. They tried to break the backdoor, it is a security door and they kept hitting it for over one hour but they couldn’t get access.
“So, my governor came and asked them for the warrant of arrest and why couldn’t they invite me to the Police, that I would have come, instead of coming to take a woman like a common criminal. They governor took me in his car and I am here ‘refugeeing’ in Government House.
“I want to thank His Excellency for keeping to his word that nothing should happen to the daughter of Rivers State. So, here I am in the Government House. I am supposed to be going today to Abuja to make my submissions before the House of Representatives Committee. I am sure it is about that.
“The man that harassed me is at home, the man who stole the money is at home, the man who stole government files is at home, the man who took money is at home, the man who said I should go and take an oath is at home. It is a criminal offence, it is life imprisonment to take oaths, to even offer me an oath is liable.
“I am sure my lawyers will be working on my next step as we speak. I don’t think that Akpabio can kill me; definitely, he can’t.
“But, why do people think that he has monopoly of violence. I think Akpabio wanted to stop me from giving my submissions before the House of Representatives Committee today. He succeeded but I am sure the House of Representatives will give me another date. Nigerians will hear more.”