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Stop harassing judges with security agents, Wike tells FG

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
28 October 2021   |   3:05 am
The Federal Government must stop using security agencies to intimidate judges if it truly believes in the independence of the judiciary, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has warned.

Wike. Photo/facebook/GovernorNyesomEzenwoWikeCON

The Federal Government must stop using security agencies to intimidate judges if it truly believes in the independence of the judiciary, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has warned.

Accusing the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led central government of whipping up financial autonomy to allegedly ingratiate itself at the NBA President’s dinner in Port Harcourt on Tuesday night, Wike contended that, “it is disingenuous for the Federal Government that uses security agencies to bully judges, to direct states to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary.”

He went on: “Autonomy is also allowing them (judges) to do what they are supposed to do without you intimidating them. Autonomy is not, give money. Autonomy is, stop using the security agencies to influence them on what to do. We have restricted autonomy to mean where you can award contract. No, that is not autonomy alone.

“Allow them to perform. Allow them to work according to the law and not to tell DSS to come and meet a judge and say look, we hear this is what you people want to give as judgment on this matter. We heard that you have N2.5 million in your account. And then the judge says, well, I don’t want to be embarrassed, let me just do it the way you people want it.”

The Rivers helmsman stressed that legislation on financial autonomy for the judiciary was unnecessary, “because the 1999 Constitution (as amended) clearly spells out the autonomy of the three arms of government.”

Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who also spoke at the event, observed that some Nigerians have erroneously assumed that governors are opposed to legislative and judicial autonomy.

“There is a certain notion out there that governors are opposed to judicial and legislative autonomy. It’s a false notion. We are not opposed to it. We have done everything to support it. Many of our states have even started implementing it long before Executive Order 10 came to the fore,” he clarified.

On his part, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, said lawyers remain solid pillar for development in the country. The NBA President, Olumide Akpata, observed that Nigeria was passing through a difficult period, hence the bar devoted the entire week to seek possible solutions.

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