The Rivers State High Court was monday hit by another explosion, the second in less than one year.
The explosion, which occurred in the early hours, destroyed the main courtroom, the judges’ chambers and adjoining offices.
THISDAY gathered that while property worth millions of naira and sensitive documents were destroyed, no life was lost in the incident.
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Ahoada-east Local Government Council, Mr. Andy Nweye, told journalists that the incident happened in the early hours of yesterday, adding that the explosion was politically motivated.
According to Nweye, unknown persons planted dynamite at the main court building, destroying the roof of the court house and documents, including case files.
He said: “As I speak now, the smoke is still billowing from the premises. This is the third time that place is being bombed and the situation is becoming worrisome.
“So we are putting machinery in place and we are working towards tracking down those behind the crime. We are in a local area, but even if Ahoada is a local area, we have our way of tracking down such people.
“My people are already out there and I am sure that in the next one week, we will pick them up. I suspect political undertones because at any point in time when a serious judgment is to come up, the Ahoada High Court will always come under attack.”
The police however have said there was no evidence of explosion in the court premises, even as it acknowledged that hoodlums had visited the court.
A statement issued by the assistant Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Grace Iringe-koko (ASP), on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, said the police commissioner and his team had visited the scene of the incident and collected samples for analysis.
The statement said: “In the sample, no trace of IED (Improvised Explosive Device) was found at the scene and from the analysis of samples collected so far, none of the features of an explosion was present at the scene, there was no evidence of explosion; no shockwaves, and no bang. The command however observed burning that resulted in conflagration.”
It said Ogunsakin also paid a visit to the High Court judge, Justice Charles Wali, at his Ahoada residence who confirmed that he was to preside over some cases for hearing on the day the court was attacked.
The statement also said: “The Rivers State Police Command has made a conscious effort to reinforce security in court premises and judiciary living quarters all around the state so as to forestall any similar incident.
“The State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and the Police Bomb Squad have been mandated to fish out the perpetrators of the crime.
“The Rivers State command in its bid to overrun criminals who constitute a clog in the wheel of progress has begun investigations into the matter even though no suspect has been arrested.”