Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, has expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to suspend judges accused of corruption. You would recall how Wike intercepted the DSS during the raid of the judges.
Speaking on Friday when the executive members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt branch, paid him a courtesy visit, WIke said the action of the council will encourage politicians to write frivolous petitions against judges.
“This move to ask judges to step aside is in favour of politicians because no judge will and deliver judgment against government or a ruling party,” he said.
“The implication is that politicians can now write as many petitions, alleging that they saw a judge taking brown envelope – which will warrant the judge to be asked to step aside.
“For us, politicians, we are happy with this development because if I notice that I will lose a case, then I will tell my lawyer to write a petition which will result to the judge stepping aside.
“So, in other not to be alleged to have done anything wrong, judges will not give judgment against government or the ruling party.
“This is because, if judge deliver judgment against government or the ruling party, then agencies of government will come after them.”
Wike said the development portend grave danger to the judiciary arm of government and to the common man.
He said the move was a clear manipulation and attempt to silence the opposition, especially as the nation was heading toward 2019 general election.
He said a good example of manipulations was the quick compliance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce federal and state legislative rerun elections shortly after the national assembly compelled the umpire to do so.
“Simply because the senate said it must conduct election within five weeks; the next day, INEC came up with a time table for the election,” he said.
“This is the same INEC that cited insecurity as reason why it could not conduct elections in Rivers, and now within one day after senate’s position, the same INEC released a time table.
“The question is when did INEC meet security agencies to now take a position that there is no longer security problem in Rivers state.
“All these boil down to manipulations which not only endanger our democracy but threatens us as a people.”
Wike accused some lawyers and judicial workers in the state of having a penchant for tax evasion, explaining that the development had affected government revenue portfolio.
He advised the legal practitioners to lead by example to enable government to carry out its developmental functions.