File photo: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike speaks at the Government House in Port Harcourt on April 2, 2021.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has accused the Federal Government of being unserious about granting autonomy to the judiciary in total disregard to the country’s constitution.
Wike made the remark on Thursday during the inauguration and handover of the National Industrial Court Judges Quarters in Old Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
The Rivers Governor explained that in a federal system of government, only the executive arm of government, at all the tiers, has the powers to present the annual budget to either State or National Assembly and also signed it into law.
“Is it true that the federal government wants the autonomy of the judiciary? If the federal government wants the autonomy of the judiciary, how can a government say that the courts should be shut down for almost two months now?” the governor was quoted as asking in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri. “Which country can survive when its courts are shut down for two months?”
Governor Wike noted that his government has totally implemented judicial autonomy as well as that of the legislature with releases of their financial entitlements as contained in the budget up till 2021.
He explained that the money released by Rivers State to the judiciary exceeds the planned deductions by the federal government and added that his government is not owing parliamentary workers who are also presently on sympathy strike.
Wike during the inauguration and handover of the National Industrial Court Judges Quarters. Photo: Facebook/Rivers Government House.
The former Minister of Education said he was motivated to build the residences for the judges, recalling when, as a Chief Judge, he got a call at about midnight that a judge was locked out of his rented apartment by a landlord.
“From that day, I had this feeling that judges should not be so exposed to this kind of thing that could lead to loss of their life. We have also acquired land to build for judges of the federal high court who are in rented apartments. And I know that the landlord has told me that they have not paid him for several years,” he added.
“That comes to tell you the kind of autonomy of the judiciary that the federal government says they believe in. We agree but the rent of their judges is there, they have not brought the money to pay.”