The police authorities in Rivers State have commented on the issue surrounding the detention of lawyers who filed petitions for the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the Election Petition Tribunal.
The police allegedly attempted to stifle the Rivers APC chapter’s legal lawsuit. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), which demanded consequences against any police officer found to have misused their position, has denounced the arrest of the Lawyers.
But, the Rivers State Police Command said on Sunday that the Lawyers had been detained on forgery suspicions and had since been freed.
In a statement, the state Police Public Relations Grace Iringe-Koko, said five APC support staff working with the legal team to challenge the outcome of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state were picked alongside the lawyers early on Saturday morning in a hotel in Port Harcourt.
“On 31/3/23 at about 11.20 am information was received that some lodgers occupying three (3) rooms in a popular hotel, were seen carrying packages in and out of the rooms, and printing what seems like INEC documents (including results),” the statement read.
“A video recording of the activities in one of the rooms was forwarded by the informant to the Police Commissioner. The information neither disclosed the identity of the lodgers nor whom they were working for.
“As a responsible law enforcement agency, the Police needed to act on the intelligence. Thus, on the basis of the report, the Police approached the court to obtain a search warrant. The warrant was dutifully executed on 1/4/23 at about 7.02 am. In the course of the search, eight persons were arrested, and several documents, laptops and printers were recovered.
“The arrested persons and exhibits were taken to the Surveillance Centre and later transferred to the State CID. An Assistant Commissioner of Police was tasked to lead the investigation team. It was in the process of profiling them that it was revealed that three of the arrested persons were lawyers.”