Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has rated the judiciary in the country low, saying if the truth must be said, “it is not living up to expectation.”
Wike spoke at the swearing in of Justice Ihenacho Wilfred Obuzor as the Acting President of the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal at the Government House, Port Harcourt last Thursday.
Wike said: “It is unfortunate that the judiciary is not living up to expectation. I should not be one of those who should be criticizing it. But I am saying what is the reality.
“Any judge that does not have the mind and courage is not supposed to be a judge. So, NJC should consider, look at people, look at the judges, can they be courageous to do what is right.
“It should not be just that this person is intelligent. A judge should be firm and give judgment the way the law says it should be.”
The Governor consequently advised the National Judicial Council (NJC) not to appoint lawyers as judges who lacked the capacity to be bold and courageous in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Wike said such lily-livered judges had moulded the judiciary into an institution that is not living up to its responsibility of dispensing justice according to law.
H said the state government would not allow any courageous and bold judge in the state to be blackmailed.
“People must do things according to law. But if you go outside the law and you’re punished, count me out. But if you’re within the law and anybody thinks that because he has people to punish you, Rivers State government will not agree to it,” he said.
Wike also said that all capital entitlements captured in the 2021 budget of the state that was due to the judiciary had been released to it.
He advised against divisions among judicial officers because it would weaken the strength of the judiciary.
Wike expressed shock at the death of the former President of Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal, late Justice Christiana Gabriel-Nwankwo.
The Governor described Justice Gabriel-Nwankwo as one of the state’s distinguished jurists who used their knowledge and skills to advance justice delivery.