Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, has said some youths of the state were forced to intervene and reopen the judiciary complex because of their resolve to ensure that the third arm of government was not trampled upon by anybody no matter how highly placed.
This came as a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, commended the judiciary for giving an order restraining the APC from going on with its local government congresses in the state.
The state Publicity Secretary of APC, Chris Finebone had on Friday accused Nwanosike of leading the PDP group set up by Governor Nyesom Wike that forcefully reopened the judiciary and was fuelling crisis within the APC.
But addressing journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, Nwanosike said he was not sent by Wike on any assignment and that his participation in the reopening of the judiciary shut by youth suspected to be members of the APC was a coincidence and borne out of patriotism.
He vowed to lead youths to reopen the state Judiciary Complex if any attempt is made to close the courts in the future.
Nwanosike insisted that the era of closing of courts in the state ended with the immediate past administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former PDP spokesman, who is now the party’s chairmanship candidate for Ikwerre local government area of the state, said the aim of those who attempted to shut down the Judiciary complex last Friday, was to stop the courts from giving judgment in favour of Senator Abe.
He stressed that his involvement was a coincidence, noting that he had visited the state judiciary to sign his chairmanship candidate form before the thugs started shooting.
Nwanosike said: “There is no relationship between us (PDP) and Abe; our concern is that the court should not be closed. Those making the comments that we are sponsoring Abe are to be blamed in what is happening.
“Nobody should use party to decimate our democracy. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest and prosecute the members of APC who tried to close down our court. It is a treasonable offence.
“For us as Rivers people we believe in democracy and in the federal government and we don’t believe that any person should play God. Each arm of the government should be allowed to do its job independently.”
He said, “Somebody had a mission and the mission was to shut down the courts so that a judgment will not be given. If you watch, as soon as the courts were opened, the judges summoned courage to march into the court in protest.
“They vowed never to allow the court be shut down again under their watch. The Chief Judge of the state led all the judges and magistrates in a file to that court yesterday.”
He expressed regret that some people were criticising the youths who reopened the court and sparing those who violently shut the judiciary.
“Are we talking about those who came to reopen the court, to stand for justice or those whose plot was to shut down the courts; those who left their houses with chains and keys to shut down our courts? For us as Rivers people, if that incident repeats itself tomorrow, we will repeat the same action because nobody can cow the judiciary.
“We are telling you that security agents were helpless. So, you expected us to keep quiet and allow the courts to be shut. Don’t forget, immediately after the courts were reopened, the judges came back to work and judgment was given in favour of Senator Magnus Abe, which means it was a deliberate attempt to stop the court from giving the judgment.”
Meanwhile, Abe has commended the Judiciary in Rivers State for the courage to stand boldly as the last hope of the common man by granting the request of some members of APC who approached the courts in order to seek a peaceful resolution to the crises that rocked the party after the ward congresses, where members who had paid for forms were “wilfully” excluded.
A group, M30, believed to be loyal to Abe, had approached a state High Court seeking an injunction restraining the APC from continuing with its congresses in the state because of perceived injustices meted to some members who purchased forms to participate in the congresses but were denied the opportunity.
Abe, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by his spokesperson, Parry Saroh Benson, said it was regrettable that party leaders would descend so low by attempting to obstruct the functions of the Judiciary and disrupting the courts from sitting in the face of violent intimidation.
“We commend some members of the party who approached the courts in order to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis that rocked the party after the ward congresses and for insisting that justice must prevail for those who were disenfranchised.
“They have done well because the absence of law is the presence of anarchy and as Rivers people, we cannot fold our arms and allow anarchy to envelop the state,” he added.