Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that Federal Government’s Executive Order 10 is politically motivated and geared towards the 2023 general elections.
The governor, however, warned that if implemented, the order would destroy the criminal justice system in the states.
The governor stated this yesterday at the third Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organised by the Rule of Law Development Foundation in Abuja.
In a statement issued by his Media Assistant, Kelvin Ebiri, the governor revealed that the Executive Order 10 permitted deduction of funds from each state account to finance the judiciary.
He said: “Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Federal Government, which has been hostile to judges, now suddenly wants to lure the judiciary to assume that it believed in the independence of the judiciary by enacting Executive Order 10.
“Independence does not equate taking resources and presiding over the award of contracts. If the judgment cannot be given according to conscience and the law, there is no independence. This affects the criminal justice system.”
Wike also pointed out that the Federal Government’s politicisation of security issues would continue to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country.
He argued that kidnappings, banditry and armed robbery, which threaten the country’s existence and stability clearly justified the establishment of state or community police.
The governor noted that while the establishment of state police might require amendment of section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Rivers State Government thought that community policing or Neighbourhood Watch could be established without a constitutional amendment.
He explained that it was against this background that his government enacted the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law 8 of 2018, which established the agency as a corporate body with powers to establish uniformed Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the 23 council areas of the state.
It is also vested with powers to prescribe regulations guiding the operations of the Safety Corps and any other local government vigilante group in the state.
In furtherance of the law, he stated that recruitment and training of members of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps commenced at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Nonwa, Tai Council Area, after obtaining necessary approvals from the Nigeria Army and other security agencies.
He said given that criminal justice system was linked to security, peace and order, there was the need for stakeholders to rethink the system through reforms to address current challenges.
Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Joseph Daudu (SAN), commended Governor Wike for being a pillar of rule of law in the country.
CREDIT: PREMIUM NG