Gov. Wike charges lawyers on “judicial activism”

Nyesom Wike

Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State, has urged Nigerian attorneys to “do more to promote judicial activism” as a means of correcting the country’s poor justice delivery.

He also urged lawyers to speak out against initiatives to limit citizens’ rights.

On Monday, the Governor delivered the charge at the 61st Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Port Harcourt’s Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

He claimed that the judicial system could never prosper if judges lacked the courage to uphold the law because they were constantly under pressure to please certain people.

Governor Wike claims that the NBA has continued to focus less on supporting and fighting for good governance, democracy, judicial independence, human rights, and the rule of law when it is urgently needed.

“Never in our political history has Nigeria been so ill managed and denied of decent governance as it has been in the previous six years, with the federal government grossly failing in its basic duty to provide for the wellbeing and security of its own inhabitants,” Wike stated.

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“On a daily basis, the economic, social and political rights, including the rights to personal security, freedom of speech, association, dissent and peaceful protests, as well as the right to personal liberty are being violated with impunity by the present central administration and its security apparatus.

“The invasion on personal liberty has been brazen and indiscriminate, such that even judges of the superior courts, including Supreme Court justices, have in the recent past been victims of midnight assaults on their premises and subjection to unlawful arrests and imprisonments.

“Lately, the new devious trend is to tag security risks to innocent Nigerians and opposition elements and use the Immigration Authority to seize their international passports without a prior court order.”

Also speaking at the conference, the Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad in his speech encouraged the NBA and its members to lead the crusade to address the poor condition of service of national judicial officers.

Justice Muhammad, who was represented by Justice Mary Odili, also noted that administration of justice was being hindered by assault that litigants, especially politicians and some lawyers, launch on the judiciary when their ends were not met.

The NBA conference is expected to witness 25 technical session where experts will lead conversations on topics in relation to the legal profession.

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