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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom
Wike, said on Friday that the ruling All Progressives Congress is killing the
foundation of democracy gradually by its orchestrated intimidation of the
judiciary through false allegations and illegal arrests.

Wike explained that no judge would
deliver judgments against the interest of the Federal Government and the ruling
party as a result of the harassment of judges by the Federal Government and the
ruling party.

The governor, who spoke at the
Government House in Port Harcourt during a courtesy visit by the Port Harcourt
Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, warned lawyers against allowing the
“deliberate” destruction of the judiciary under any guise.

According to him, the ruling party
and its officials have elevated the art of frivolous petition writing against
judges as a means of subverting the course of justice.

He said, “Our democracy is in
danger. Our democracy has been threatened. What is happening to the judiciary
is very deep. NBA must be careful of the deep implications of what it is also
doing in the course of the present attack on the judiciary.

“All these actions are geared
towards silencing everybody as we head toward 2019. If anybody tells you that
they are fighting corruption in the judiciary, tell the person that he is
lying.

“They have empowered politicians to
write frivolous petitions against judges. Whether or not the petition is true,
the judge is compelled to step aside.

“Any judge who delivers a judgment
that is against the interest of the ruling party is hounded down by the
Department of State Services. They have intimidated judicial officers and put
fear in them in a manner that is negatively affecting governance.”

The governor cited the ongoing
crisis in Ondo PDP as a point of reference where frivolous petitions had been
used to further the interest of the ruling party and destroy the judiciary.

On the December 10, 2016 date
scheduled by INEC for Rivers rerun elections, Wike said the fact that it was
announced less than 24 hours after the Senate ultimatum was an indication that
INEC had been lying to people that insecurity was behind the repeated postponement
of the rerun elections.

He, however, said that INEC in its
anti-democratic elements would adduce reasons why the election might not be
conducted on the same premise of security consideration.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Port
Harcourt Branch of the NBA, Mr. Victor Briggs, commended Wike for his
commitment to the development of the state.

Briggs also thanked the governor
for the construction of the modern law center for the branch, assuring the
government that  lawyers would always
support its development programmes.

Reacting, the Rivers State
Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, explained that the
corruption in the judiciary was worrisome and needed somebody to fight it.

Finebone stated that rather than
criticise the stance of the Federal Government against the corruption in the
third arm of government, Wike should be optimistic that recent development in
the judiciary would help democracy to grow.

“As far as the APC and Nigerians
are concerned, the corruption in the judiciary requires somebody to do
something to stem it. The governor should be sounding optimistic that the fight
against corruption in the judiciary is yielding fruit,” he said.

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