Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has advised the federal government to stop paying lip service to granting financial autonomy to the judiciary.
He said the federal government with decrepit high court buildings across the country could not truly claim it fully supported financial autonomy for the judiciary.
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The governor said it would be futile to bother state assemblies with such bill since the 1999 constitution as amended already recognised the independence of the judiciary.
Wike spoke at the dinner in honour of delegates to the 61st Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), held at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday night.
“Nobody can force me on how my state will operate. Amendment had been done that the judiciary must be independent and on first-line charge. If I’m not obeying that, there is a sanction for it,” he said.
The governor explained that the state government had released all 2021 capital expenditure due to the judiciary since September, challenging the federal government to prove it had done the same.
The governor added that Rivers State would resist any attempt by the federal government to deduct funds meant for the state under the guise of implementing financial autonomy for the judiciary.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata (SAN), said Wike’s support and defence of the judiciary was a pointer to his firm belief that the institution of state should be strengthened.