Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, has explained why he intervened in the siege laid at the Port Harcourt residence of Joi Nunieh, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Ms Nunieh was billed to appear today before the committee of the Nigerian Senate to answer queries on an alleged N40billion said to have been mismanaged while she headed the now dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) at the NDDC.
But earlier in the day, at about 4am, armed security operatives laid siege at the building and attempted forcing their way in. Mr Wike who was reportedly passing by had to stop and enquire what the siege was for. He ordered the operatives who had no warrant on them to vacate the premises while whisking away Nunieh from the police detention.
The governor thereafter left with the former NDDC MD to the state government house where they both addressed the press. In a statement authored by Paulinus Nsirim, the state commissioner for Information and Communication, the governor called for an investigation to unravel those behind it.
He said if Nunieh had committed any crime, the proper thing to do was to invite her for questioning.
“But to storm her residence at such an unholy hour suggests some sinister motive that should not be tolerated,” the governor said.
“What has happened today is a disgrace. Who knows what would have happened to her if they had gained access to her main room? I went there personally to see things for myself and rescued her.
“She is supposed to testify before the House of Representatives Committee and here we are having armed men wanting to abduct her.
“We came out to protect our daughter and we will do so to every Rivers citizen. That is the oath of office I swore to. It doesn’t matter the political affiliation. We will not allow anybody to destroy Rivers state.
“It is so unfortunate and I cry for this country concerning the ways things are going. They didn’t have a warrant of arrest, but would storm somebody’s house, in fact, the State Commissioner of Police is not aware.
”So, tell me how something will happen in a state and the Commissioner of Police is not aware? They said it’s the Inspector General Monitoring Unit.
“So, we have such a unit taking over the responsibility of crime fighting in a state and the Commissioner of Police is not aware? I can also assume too that the Inspector General of Police is not aware. He should investigate it.
“If there is any allegation of crime against her, I will not back her but you can’t kill her for no established crime. I don’t know who’s responsible but whoever is behind it should not take Rivers state for granted because we will fight back.
“From what has happened now, I want to say that Rivers State is fully out. Anybody who is responsible for this attempted abduction of our daughter, should know that enough is enough.
“They can’t treat her as a common criminal. I am sure that President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of this.
“All the Niger Delta States should find out if any of their citizens have a hand in the unfortunate incident and call on such people to leave our daughter alone. She is no longer the Managing Director of NDDC.
“The way things are going now, it seems people want to destroy Rivers State and it is unacceptable.
“Using the police to carry out abduction of citizens should not be encouraged. A similar incident had happened in this state before when they wanted to use the same style to abduct a serving Judge,” he added.
On her part, the former NDDC MD who said the security operatives violently made abduct her, thanked the governor for rescuing her while explaining what transpired.
“Those who told me the Commissioner of Police was downstairs lied because it was his deputy that actually came,” Nunieh explained.
“I opened the door and they wanted to grab me. I pushed back the door and locked it and went upstairs.
“So, my Governor came, asked them for the warrant of arrest and why they did not invite me to the police station instead of attempting to abduct a woman like a criminal.
“The Governor took me away in his car and I am taking refuge in Government House. I want to thank His Excellency for keeping to his word that nothing should happen to a daughter of Rivers State.
“I was supposed to be going to Abuja today to make my submission before the Committee of the House of Representatives. I am sure the motive was to stop me,” she added.