Rivers state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says federal government decision to dissipate state funds on behalf of state judiciary, under the president’s executive order 10, is illegal and ill-advised.
The governor argues that, if the decision is implemented more problems would be created to hamper the independence of the judiciary.
He challenged the decision during a special court session organised to mark the opening of 2020/2021 legal year of the Rivers state judiciary in Port Harcourt on Friday.
Governor Nyesom contends that the move constitutes yet, another clear breach of the constitutional powers of the governors to manage state resources in a federal system.
According to him, the federal government cannot legitimately claim to be more interested in the progress of state judiciaries than the governors.
He pointed out that, independence of the judiciary was not only about finances, but the ability of judicial officers to write judgments without the fear of being harassed by officers of the department of state services, or the economic and financial crime commission.
The Rivers state governor, said that, while issue of inadequate funding for the judiciary had been a recurrent challenge preventing the judiciary across the nation from enjoying practical autonomy and efficiency, current situation in his state was different.
He then took a swipe at the chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere, for alleging that some persons were extrajudicially killed by the military, in the aftermath of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) killing of six soldiers, four policemen, and destruction of all police stations and Court buildings in Oyigbo.
He wondered why the NBA, that is yet to make a formal submission to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the state to probe the atrocities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), would make such wild allegations of extrajudicial killings in Oyigbo.
The Governor lauded the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Adama Iyaye Lamikanra for her illustrious service and commitment to the progress of the judiciary in the state, proving her mettle despite some quarters opposed to her elevation as the Chief Judge based on her status as a non-indigene.
In her remarks, the Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyaye Lamikanra, lauded Governor Wike, for providing the state judiciary the needed funds to ensure people have unhindered access to justice.
She condemned the destruction of all court buildings in Oyigbo by members of the outlawed IPOB, describing it as a set back for dispensation of justice.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor, said his ministry as an institutional stakeholder in the justice sector, would continue to cooperate and collaborate with the state judiciary and other stakeholders in driving the necessary reform and improving the administration of justice.