Stop Appointing Cowards as Judges, Wike Tells NJC

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has asked the National Judicial Council, NJC, not to appoint lawyers who lack boldness and courage as judges.

Wike, who 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 on Thursday, said weak judges had failed to uphold justice and give hope to the oppressed.

The governor said any judge that was bothered about who will be offended by pronouncements should not be appointed in the first place because justice cannot be advanced in such a manner.

He said, “It is unfortunate that the judiciary is not living up to expectation. I should not be one of those who should be criticising 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 assured that Rivers State Government will not allow any courageous and bold judge in the State who is discharging his or her duties within the confines of the law to be blackmailed.

He said it is important for judges to dispense justice according to their conscience and the law and be comfortable that they upheld the law. According to him, one of the reasons the State is providing judges of Rivers extraction houses is to safeguard them from corruption.

“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 urged the new president of the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal to leverage on the successes of his predecessor and work to make the court stronger in dispensing justice.

Governor Wike expressed shock and sorrow on the death of the former President of Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal, late Justice Christiana Gabriel-Nwankwo, describing her as one of the State’s distinguished jurists who used their knowledge and skills to advance justice delivery.

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