Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has warned of an emerging civilian dictatorship in the country that is increasingly becoming intolerant of political opposition.
Wike said the hunting and hounding of a small band of targeted Judges to prison in Gestapo style, even before allegations against them were investigated, is a pointer that the country was sliding into dictatorship.
The governor made this assertion while handing over a new Federal High Court Complex built by the State Government to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Auta, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He said the ‘persecution’ of Judges was more of a political witch-hunt than practical strategy to browbeat the judiciary into submission. To this end, he implored all men of courage and goodwill, irrespective of partisan affiliations, to intervene to stop the present cascade into hell before all lose their liberties to the emerging civilian dictatorship in the
Wike noted that at such a time when the Nigerian judicial system is going through grave existential and reputational challenges, the least anyone can do is to support it to reinvent itself and bring about a qualitative change that all Nigerians need in the justice delivery system.
He observed that despite the challenge facing the judiciary, the generality of Nigerians still have great trust and faith in it as the last hope of the common man.
According to him, although this trust is often eroded and displaced by perceived cases of judicial corruption, the misbehaviour of a negligible few should not warrant wholesale denigration of the entire judicial system.
“This nation must find better ways of fighting judicial and other corruptions with all the seriousness they deserve within the framework of the rule of law, instead of entertaining the gullible public with a phantom and tendentious actions against corruption,” he said.
Wike explained that the State Government decided to build the new complex in recognition of the fact that providing adequate infrastructure constitutes a strong pillar of judicial transformation, pointing out that all over the world, courts exist to serve society by advancing the cause and the ends of justice.
Consequently, he said the judicial officers who preside over these courts must have all the comfort they need to function effectively and responsibly discharge their judicial responsibilities without let or hindrance.
The governor said in a country where the justice delivery system is pretentiously federal, but manifestly unitary, the quest to have the most modern and advanced court houses and justice system cannot be completely achieved if a state, such as Rivers, limit judicial transformation agenda only to state courts.
“We have fulfilled our duty as leaders who mean well for our country and its progress. All that we ask in return is for the Federal Government to provide for the regular care and maintenance of this building, so that its functionality is preserved for the use of the present and future generations,” he added.
Justice Auta lauded the state government for the gesture, assuring that the court would continue to dispense justice to all according to the laws of the land.