Gov.Nyesom Wike of Rivers has urged the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to go beyond issuing statements, to taking concrete actions against attacks on the nation’s judiciary.
Wike gave the charge during the book presentation in honour of Justice Mary Peter-Odili as part of activities marking her retirement from the Supreme Court of Nigeria and her 70th Birthday celebration in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Kelvin Ebiri, his Special Assistant on Media, expressed regrets at the NBA’s lackluster approach to social change, saying it was more of a disservice to the nation and exposed it to contempt.
He also expressed disagreement with some speakers on Thursday’s valedictory court session organised in honour of Justice Odili.
The speakers had blamed politicians for the challenges that the judiciary suffered.
The governor alleged that the Federal Government had in 2016, unleashed premeditated midnight raids on judges’ homes, including the Justices of the Supreme Court, in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and Sokoto states.
He noted that when judges were lacking in courage and integrity, they easily gave up to improper pressure, influence and control, and the entire judiciary suffered.
Wike assured that if elected the President of Nigeria in 2023, he would work with the National Assembly to prioritize the welfare of judicial officers, including the provision of official cars and life-long accommodation “as being done in Rivers”.
Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Mary Peter Odili, noted that Nigerian judges were among the best in the world, but they were never treated right.
Justice Odili, who was also the first lady of Rivers, between 1999 and 2007, expressed delight that some of her judgments had been published for the public to assess.
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, described Justice Odili as an epitome of humility.
Chairman of the occasion and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha, SAN, noted that Justice Odili served the country meritoriously, honorably, and without blemish to her character.
Governors present at the event were Dr.Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Mr. Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Sen. Douye Diri (Bayelsa); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Seyi Makinde