Mr. Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, has expressed his displeasure with the amount of intimidation encountered by judges in the course of doing their responsibilities.
He bemoaned the nation’s judiciary’s failure to constantly defend its judges.
Governor Wike made the remark yesterday at Government House in Port Harcourt, where four new justices of the Rivers State High Court were sworn in.
Popnen Sylvester Sunday, Daketima, Gabriel Kio, Chinelo Chidubem Odili, and Nsirim Chinwe Amanda are the four new judges.
The governor stated that judges who are devoted to maintaining the rule of law and making decisions based on the merits of the case before them would continue to be intimidated if they are not protected by their peers.
The governor predicted that as political activity peaks in 2022, judges would face more intimidation.
According to him, most political combatants are hell-bent on getting their way in every legal situation that concerns them, and they never imagine the court would rule against them.
Wike noted that when judges know that their colleagues would rally to their defence, they will be more willing to take on cases, especially political ones, without fear of retaliation.
“If what is going on now is not stopped by NJC, I can assure you no political matter will go before any judge and that judge will have any courage to handle such matter.
“The intimidation by NJC on these judges is quite alarming and I have to say it clearly, if you don’t give your judges support to do what they’re supposed to do, then let us better forget that in 2023 that we will have it easy.
“From next year (2022), it will be very turbulent and so matters will come before judges, allow them to dispense the matter the way they think it is. That is why there is always an appeal.
“But the moment any judge gives a decision, we politicians must always write petition. That you cannot take away. No politician loses any case and thinks that there is nothing that went wrong.”
The governor urged the new judges to take their jobs seriously, foster a positive work environment, and avoid unnecessary adjournments that lengthen the time it takes to resolve cases.
He reminded them to recognize that each office and position comes with its own set of obstacles and that it is in their best interests to try to be the best they can be.
Justices Popnen S.Sunday and Daketima G. Kio were both private legal practitioners before their elevation, while Justices Nsirim and Chinelo C. Odili were Chief Magistrates.