Rivers state Governor Nyesom Wike has narrated how a chieftaincy dispute in his community, led to the arrest and detention of his father, uncle, brothers, and himself and they were charged with murder.
Wike shared the story at an event to mark the 65th birthday of Emmanuel Ukala, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) saying he worked at Ukala’s firm after he finished from law school, and it took the senior lawyer’s efforts to ensure that his family “got justice”.
“There was a time that the entire family was charged for murder. Every male was taken away. We only had women left in the house with children between the ages of one and five. As at that time, I was reading law at the then Rivers State University of Science and Technology, now Rivers State University.”
In the statement released by his media aide Kelvin Ebiri, the Rivers state Governor also narrated how some “callous politicians in his constituency ganged up and conspired with the police” to accuse him of armed robbery when he expressed his interest in running for chairman of Obio-Akpor LGA in 1998.
Wike said Ukala intervened and secured his release, saying the SAN also defended him “from the tribunal up to the Supreme Court when some vested interest in the council desperately attempted” to prevent him from being sworn into office as Obio-Akpor council chairman.
“Throughout my chairmanship matter in 1998, when we had election down to April 4, 2000 when Supreme Court finally decided my matter, he (Ukala) never took a dime, one naira.
“Then my governorship election, most people may not believe it, from governorship tribunal down to Supreme Court, he never collected one dime.”
The Rivers state Governor further described Ukala as a “refined and discipline lawyer”, and praised him for being a “worthy mentor”.