A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, restrained the police from arresting Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s Chief of Staff, Ediswon Ehie, over last year’s explosion at the state House of Assembly.
The court made the order following an ex parte application taken before it by Ehie, who was a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly when the Assembly complex was bombed to foil an attempt by lawmakers loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike to impeach Fubara.
Ehie, in his application, urged the court to restrain the police or other security agencies “from arresting, detaining and harassing” over the Assembly in incident.
Justice Sika Aprioku, after granting the order, adjourned till February 6 for hearing of the substantive application.
Meanwhile,in direct conflict with the Rivers High Court order,the Federal High Court in Abuja also on Wednesday granted the police an order to arrest Ehie over the Assembly explosion.
Justice Emeka Nwite, who heard the ex parte application by the police, issued a warrant for the arrest of Ehie and five others.
In the ex parte application, the defendants were accused of conspiracy, arson, terrorism, attempted murder, and murder of a Superintendent of Police, Bako Agbashim, and five other police informants.
The ex parte application was predicated on sections 37, 113, 114, 84, and 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution as well as 32 of the Police Act 2020.
While granting the application, Justice Nwite held: “That the complainant/application’s application dated and filed 29th day of January 2024 is granted as prayed.
“That an order of this Honourable Court is hereby made issuing a Warrant of Arrest against Ehie, Bala, Benneth, Joseph, Oyagiri, and Chibuike (aka Rambo) fleeing Defendants in the case. “
Reacting to the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, said the Rivers High Court order was superior.
Johnson stated, “I have always said when there are two orders, one says kill this man, the other one says don’t kill him, you take the last order.
“Now, there is a court that says go and arrest Edison Ehie and another court says don’t arrest him. Which one will you obey (rhetorically).
“In the Army they said obey the last order; and in law they say ajuwaha which means as you were. The last order says the man should where he was before; stand where you were at the outset.
“So yes, there was truly, but there is also, the latter says don’t arrest, don’t touch him and don’t do anything.”
He added, “Again when you get to the police and they say there is a subsisting order that says, don’t touch him. So it is clear that the last order will take preeminence. It is common law.”
The spokesman of the state government further said the recent development was connected to Ehie’s sudden rise politically.
“You know the agitations, acrimonies, bickerings and every hatred for Edison Ehie, particularly that he was ever Speaker of the House of Assembly, he relinguished the position and became Chief of Staff; naturally there will be envy.
“Once your level in life increased or you ascend, your enemies will come after you. The Bible says there are a lot of doors open but that there are many adversaries. So whatever it is we will overcome,” the commissioner said.