The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has criticised the Federal Government’s decision to deduct state funds on behalf of state judiciaries, stating that it is illegal and will tamper with the independence of the judiciary if implemented.
Wike stated this during a special court session organised to mark the opening of the 2020/2021 legal year of the Rivers State judiciary in Port Harcourt on Friday.
According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor, Kelvin Ebiri, the Rivers State Governor argued that the action of the Federal Government constituted a clear breach of the constitutional powers of governors to manage state resources in a federal system.
He said, “The Federal Government cannot legitimately claim to be more interested in the progress of state judiciaries than the governors of the respective states; particularly, Rivers State.”
He revealed that the independence of the judiciary was not only about finances, but the ability of the judicial officers to write judgments without the fear of being harassed by officers of the Department of State Services or the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.
Wike explained that while the issue of inadequate funding for the judiciary had been a recurring challenge preventing the judiciary from enjoying practical autonomy and efficiency, the situation in Rivers State under his administration was different.