By; PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on the nation’s judiciary to take measures to defend its existence and promote its constitutional right to independence.
According to a statement signed by his Special Assistant Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, made available on 2nd November, 2018, speaking during the special court session to mark the opening of the 2018/2019 Legal Year, Governor said that the judiciary must carry out her constitutional functions without external interference .
He said: “It is left for the judiciary to assert itself, defend its existence and independence and ensure that it discharges its constitutional functions without hindrance or interference from both within itself or from external influences.
“In this regard, the primary force for reforming and improving the judicial process cannot be impose from outside but must come from within the judiciary itself.”
Governor Wike charged the judiciary to embark on immediate reforms with a view to address case-overload and ensure the speedy dispensation of justice.
He said: “It is therefore imperative for the judiciary to find sustainable answers to the recurring challenges of case overload, excessive delay in the trial process, overcrowded prisons and the misuse of the appeal processes to obstruct the cause of justice.
“Against this backdrop, what is now needed is a purposeful reform and overhaul of our entire justice system into one that can adequately protect the weak from the strong, deter the tendency towards crime and violence; ensure that disputes are speedily and fairly resolved according to law; and above all, instill respect for law and order in all our people”.
The governor, however, said that the reforms by the judiciary must take cognisance of the fact that the society is dynamic.
” I can assure you that the majority of Rivers people are grateful to those judges and members of the bar who remained faithful to the letters of the law, resisted lawlessness, and refused to be bullied or intimidated by those who hold our judicial system in utter contempt.
“Once again, I most heartily congratulate the judiciary on the commencement of the new legal year and pay my humble homage to it and offer my best wishes for another successful legal year”, he said.
The governor said that what is most significant is that the State Judiciary is working and contributing to the peace and security of the state.
He said that his administration has ensured a progressive increase in the funding of the justice sector, leading to the emergence of the state as the nation’s judicial hub.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyaye-Laminkanra berated invaders of the State High Court on May 11, 2018 over the Rivers APC crisis, pointing out that the courage of the Judiciary prevented the shutting down of the state judiciary.
Justice Iyaye-Laminkanra lauded the Rivers State Government for his investments in developing justice sector infrastructure.
Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Chief Okey Wali assured the Judiciary of the support of lawyers in the dispensation of justice in Rivers State.
Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice , Dr Zaccheus Adangor said that the stability of democracy rests squarely on the Judiciary.
He said that the Rivers State Governor has been outstanding in the delivery of projects to promote access to justice.
The Special Court session honoured the immediate past Attorney-General of Rivers State, Late Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) with a minute silence.