Court affirms Wike’s constitutional power to probe Amaechi’s administration
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has affirmed that the setting up of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry by Governor Nyesom Wike to probe the sale of the state’s valued assets by the administration of his predecessor, Chibuike Amaechi, was constitutional.
The appellate court also held that the failure of Amaechi to honour the invitation of the judicial commission was tantamount to self-denial to fair-hearing.
Amaechi had filed a suit at the State High Court, Port Harcourt, challenging the setting up of the commission of inquiry because it infringed on his fundamental rights.
The court, presided over by Justice Simeon Amadi, had dismissed Amaechi’s suit on the grounds that the inquiry commission set up by Wike does not constitute an investigation into his (Amaechi) personal life.
Displeased with the verdict, Amaechi filed a suit at the Court of Appeal seeking to upturn the judgment of the lower
But in a unanimous decision in suit number CA/PH/342/15, Justice O. F. Omoleye of the appellate court dismissed Amaechi’s claim that the setting up of the judicial commission was illegal.
According to her, the State House of Assembly was constitutionally empowered to make law that empowers the governor to set up a judicial commission of inquiry.
She pointed out that the commission of inquiry was legally empowered to send an invitation to the former governor to appear before it and that Amaechi had denied himself the right to fair-hearing.
She noted that it was preposterous for Amaechi to sit in the court of his home to decide that the 30 days set aside for the commission to conclude its work would rob him of fair-hearing.
Justice Omoleye, therefore, concluded that there was nothing wrong with Governor Wike probing the sale of valued Rivers State assets by his predecessor and to ascertain if the process was transparent and in conformity with due process.
She also dismissed the claim by Amaechi that the judicial commission of inquiry had a premediated agenda and that the former governor ought to have established his allegation of bias against the commission based on concrete evidence.