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Intimidation of Judges Alarming – Wike

Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has decried the level of intimidation faced by Nigerian judges in the course of discharging their duties.

He regretted the inability of the nation’s judiciary to always protect their judges.

Wike made the observation yesterday, while swearing-in four new judges of the Rivers State High Court at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The four new judges are Popnen Sylvester Sunday, Daketima, Gabriel Kio, Chinelo Chidubem Odili and Nsirim Chinwe Amanda.

The governor said if judges, who are committed to upholding the rule of law and giving judgement on the merit of the case before them, are not protected by their colleagues, they would remain victims of intimidation.

The governor maintained that with the peak of political activities to set in 2022, there will be an increased level of intimidation of judges.

According to him, most political gladiators were bent to always have their way in every legal matter that involves them and never believe judgement to be against their prayers before the court.

Wike pointed out that when judges know that their colleagues would rise in their defence, they will be courageous to handle cases, including political matters without shying away.

“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 charged the new judges to take their job seriously, promote a healthy work culture and avoid needless adjournments that delays the time taken to dispense with cases.

He urged them to understand that every office and position have associated challenges and it behooves them to strive to be the best possible they can be.

Before their elevation, Justice Popnen S.Sunday and Justice Daketima G. Kio were both private legal practitioners, while Justice Nsirim and Chinelo C. Odili were Chief Magistrates.


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