Written by Uzoanya Ugonma
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike has launched an attack on the recently signed Executive Order 10 which seeks to deduct funds from state government accounts to fund the nation’s judicial system.
According to the governor, the Executive Order is politically motivated and geared towards gaining undue advantage in the 2023 general election.
He made this known while giving a keynote address at the third Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organized by the Rule of Law Development Foundation in Abuja.
The governor said that the Executive Order 10 will destroy the criminal justice system if implemented as proposed.
In the opinion of governor Wike, the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government which has been hostile to judges is trying to enact the Executive Order 10 in order to lure the judiciary to assume that the president believes in its independence.
“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 also pointed out how the issue of security has been politicized by the Federal Government and how it has continued to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country.
Governor Wike noted that while the establishment of state police might require amendment, he is of the opinion that a community police or neighborhood watch could also be established.
According to the governor, “The truth of the matter is that with the current strength of the Nigeria Police Force, which stands at about 372,000, lacks the operational capacity to fulfill its primary or core mandate of crime detection, 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 923.768 kilometres (356.669 sqm) with an estimated population of 195.9 million. It is this stark reality that informs call for the establishment of state police to provide a complementary role to the Nigeria Police Force in crime detection, prevention, and maintenance of law and order.”
The governor further emphasized the need for stakeholders to critically rethink the system through the reforms designed in order to address the current security challenges in the country.