Arrest of Chidi Lloyd: Police Will Be Punished-Lawyer



style="text-align: justify;">Counsel to the detained Leader, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, B.E.I. Nwofor (SAN) has vowed that the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) would pay dearly for arresting his client.

style="text-align: justify;">Speaking exclusively to, Nwofor said the police had no powers to invite Lloyd, let alone detain him, over the recent fracas in the Rivers Assembly.

style="text-align: justify;">The Senior Advocate said the NPF know that lawmakers the world over are immune from prosecution over their actions in their chambers

style="text-align: justify;">“For the records, what happened on the floor of the Rivers State House of Assembly is covered by the National Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act made by the National Assembly.

style="text-align: justify;">“This law covers all the Houses of Assembly of the 36 states. We therefore appeared to tell the police, ‘see, you cannot summon my client over his actions on the floor of the House.

style="text-align: justify;">“The law governing assault in the House of Assembly is prescribed for in that law. Volume 8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

style="text-align: justify;">“Section 21 says that where there is an assault on the floor of the Assembly, it is the Assembly that disciplines such member as it deems fit, not the police.

style="text-align: justify;">“If there is need for prosecution, it is for the Speaker to complain, in writing, to the Attorney-General of the state in question. It is for the Attorney-General to prosecute, not the police,” he stressed.

style="text-align: justify;">The lawyer recalled instances of the early 1960s fracas in the defunct Western House of Assembly, and during the tenures of former House of Representatives’ Speakers Patricia Etteh and Dimeji Bankole.

style="text-align: justify;">He quizzed, “Even if we didn’t catch of ape the crisis in the defunct Western House of Assembly called the Wild, Wild, West, we, at least, saw the fights in the tenures of Etteh and Bankole. Recently, a fight broke out in the House of Commons. We saw the clips. Why didn’t the police move in? Why now, why Rivers?”

style="text-align: justify;">He continued: “Our visit to the police headquarters was actually to tell the Inspector General of Police that, ‘we have sued you for your illegal intervention in a purely legislative affair. We are not on the run. So, assemble your team of lawyers to come and defend your actions.”

style="text-align: justify;">The senior lawyer warned against what he described as impunity by the police, insisting that Lloyd’s “arrest is illegal, detention is illegal, and investigation is illegal.”

style="text-align: justify;">The lawyer added, “Even if he (Lloyd) wasn’t a legislator, the law says you cannot keep a suspect in custody beyond 24 hours where there is a court within 40 kilometres radius of the

style="text-align: justify;">“And having brought him into Port Harcourt on Friday, well beyond the 24 hours, we have courts several courts around,

style="text-align: justify;">“Today is a brand new day. Why are they still keeping him? As I speak from the court premises (12.20pm) he has not been brough to court. They said he committed a crime, so why not take him to court for trial? We have filed an application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

style="text-align: justify;">Nwofor confirmed that Lloyd was being detained at the SIIB, and that he last had access to his client on Friday. The senior lawyer said one of the lawyers in his chambers actually say the lawmaker in blindfolds.

style="text-align: justify;">He explained that he advised Lloyd to give himself up after a lorryload of armed policemen arrived in the lawmaker’s house with a letter inviting him to the police station.

style="text-align: justify;">Nwofor said he was surprised to see the police declaring his client wanted barely 24 hours after they dropped off his letter of invitation.

style="text-align: justify;">He disclosed that he had already sued the police for N1 billion, and that the judge had marked August 6, for judgement.

style="text-align: justify;">Nwofor, however. warned,”Any additional day you detain my client unlawfully is a new cause for action.