The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has alleged that the Federal Government approval of Presidential Executive Order No. 00-10, pushing its responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal, and the Customary Court of Appeal, to state governments was part of 2023 general election politics.
This is coming as the governor also warned that the apex government government would destroy criminal justice system in states if the executive order 10 is implemented.
Wike said that the executive order 10 which permits the deduction of funds from each state account to finance the judiciary, was politically motivated and geared towards the 2023 general election.
Speaking on Monday at the 3rd Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organised by the Rule of Law Development Foundation in Abuja, said that it was surprising that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led central government which has been hostile to judges, could suddenly wants to lure the judiciary to assume it believes in independence of judiciary, by enacting Executive Order 10.
“Independence is not to take resources and preside over award of contract. If you cannot give judgment according to your conscience; if you cannot give judgment according to the law, then there is no independence. And this of course affects the criminal justice system,” he said.
Furthermore, Wike also alleged that pointed out that politicisation of security issues by the federal government has continued to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country.
He said that the prevailing cases of kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery which threatens the stability of the nation clearly justifies the establishment of state and community police.
He observed that while establishment of state police may require amendment of the extant Section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution to provide, the Rivers government was of the opinion that community police or Neighborhood Watch could be established without constitutional amendment.
“The truth of the matter is that with the current strength of the Nigeria Police Force which stands at about 372000 (Three Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand), the Nigeria Police Force lacks the operational capacity to fulfil its primary or core mandate of crime detection, crime prevention and maintenance of public safety, law and order or protection of lives and property of persons in Nigeria.
“To put it plainly, the Nigeria Police lacks the operational capacity to police the nation which is a federation of about 923.768km (356.669 sqm) with an estimated population of 195.9 million. It is this stark reality that informs call for establishment of State Police to provide complementary role to the Nigeria Police Force in crime detection, prevention, and maintenance of law and order.”
“The point being made here is that as long as the federal government continues to politicise issues of security whether national or local, so long shall our criminal justice system remain seriously jeopardize. The suzerain power exercisable by the Federal Government over matters of security is made manifest by the irregular postings of Commissioners of Police to the Rivers state Police Command”, he said.