The long drawn battle in the Rivers State judiciary was laid to rest yesterday as the state governor, Nyesom Wike announced that the state judiciary will have financial autonomy so that it can work independently without being muscled by the executive.
Speaking on Monday while swearing-in the state Acting Chief Judge, Justice Daisy Okocha and the Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal of Rivers State, Governor Wike stated that he would never starve the judiciary of funds as a tool for arm twisting that arm of government.
The governor noted that the independence of the Judiciary was necessary for the smooth running of government in the state.
He however expressed his disappointment with the attitude of the Bench during the crisis in the state, saying that they were divided when they were supposed to be united to fight the destruction of the judicial system by the out gone administration of Rotimi Amaechi
Governor Wike also blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, for failing to defend the legal profession in the face of attacks from a desperate administration seeking self preservation.
“As a lawyer, I am highly disappointed by the action of the NBA. Something that you know is wrong, but everyone kept quiet. The actions that the NBA is taking now are belated. Suspending the former Attorney-General is coming late in the day. They failed to speak up when everything was going wrong. We got to that level of decadence because NBA failed to act”
Wike noted that he will always follow due process in appointing judicial officers, stating that he will never make appointments on the premise of self preservation.
“If I believe in self preservation, I would have appointed my wife acting Chief Judge and the second in line who is my in-law as Acting President Customary Court of Appeal. But I am a person who believes in due process. All through my leadership, we will follow due process in all appointments and actions.”
In her response, the Rivers State Acting Chief Judge, Justice Daisy Okocha stated that there will be zero tolerance to corruption under her leadership.
Okocha commended the governor for working towards the financial autonomy of the judiciary and noted that she would ensure the revival of Rivers State.
The event which was held at Government House, Port Harcourt was attended by Judges, Senior lawyers and key stakeholders of Rivers State.
Source: Daily Independent