BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, PORT HARCOURT
Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, has described as political witch-hunt the recent arrest and detention of some judges in Nigeria, even before allegations against them are investigated.
He said Nigeria must find better ways of fighting judicial and other corruptions in the country within the rule of law instead of entertaining the gullible public with a phantom and tendentious actions against corruption.
Wike, who spoke yesterday at the commissioning of the new Federal High Court building, constructed by the Rivers State government in Port Harcourt, said despite the challenges facing the nation’s judiciary, it still remains the last hope of the common man.
The governor said, “At such a time when the Nigerian judicial system is going through grave existential and reputational challenges, the least we can do is to support it to reinvent itself and bring about a qualitative change that we all need in the justice delivery system.
“Nevertheless, let us not forget that the generality of Nigerians still have great trust and faith on the Nation’s judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
“Although this trust is often eroded and displaced by perceived cases of judicial corruption, the misbehavior of a negligible few shouldn’t warrant wholesale denigration of the entire judicial system.
“Certainly, hunting and hounding a small band of targeted judges to prison in Gestapo style even before allegations against them were investigated is more of a political witch-hunt than practical strategy to browbeat the judiciary into submission.
“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.”
Wike, who said with the new building, the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court is greatly empowered for greater efficiency and expeditious consideration and delivery of justice to the people of the state, appealed to the Federal Government to provide regular care for the building to enable it function effectively.
He said, “With this Courthouse, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt is greatly empowered for greater efficiency and expeditious consideration and delivery of justice to our people.
“And so, as state government, we are proud to have built this magnificent courthouse for the Federal Government and for all Nigerians as a testimony to our patriotism and commitment to the peace, security and unity of our beloved country and the wellbeing of the citizens.
“Let it also be known that we have built this courthouse to serve and advance the public interest and not to satisfy any other self-promotive motives. Accordingly, 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.
“Let me assure every one of us that, just as justice is said to be blind, so is our development objectives and programmes.”
Commissioning the new Federal High Court building, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, stated that the Federal High Court complex in Port Harcourt is outstanding and the best to be constructed by a state government.
Auta, who commended Wike for his commitment to the provision of the relevant infrastructure for the Federal High Court, pointing out that the court will dispense justice according to the law, said following the official hand over, the court will begin to use the facility on Monday.