GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Sunday, October 8, berated the Department of State Services, DSS, for the arrest of judges over alleged corruption.
Wike described the defence of the DSS’ action as deliberate misinformation and concocted stories to justify its unconstitutional assault on the nation’s judiciary.
He said the DSS lacked the constitutional powers to be involved in the legal process to discipline a serving judicial official because “there is a legal process that must be followed”.
The governor who spoke on Sunday night during a special dinner for the management and players of Rivers United at the Government House, Port Harcourt, said: “The weak blackmail of the DSS will not lessen the crime they have committed against the Nigerian state by assaulting the judiciary,” adding: “Their blackmail stories will not move me. They will concoct all kinds of stories to justify this undemocratic illegality perpetrated against the judiciary.
“It is really unfortunate that DSS would concoct a false defence that $2million (that is N900million) was found in the house of the judge. It is unfortunate that the DSS is coming up with flimsy excuses. “
Wike said apart from not condoning corruption, he would “never support any process that is targeted at ruining the nation’s judiciary”.
He said the National Judicial Council, NJC, had the responsibility to discipline erring judges, after which indicted judicial officers are handed over to the law enforcement agency for prosecution.
The governor said the police, the army and para-military agencies have their processes for the discipline of erring and corrupt officers.
“In the police, erring and corrupt policemen are first given orderly room trial, sacked and then appropriately prosecuted. For judicial officers, the DSS has no role.
“This impunity must stop. I am not in support of any judicial officer being involved in corruption. What we are saying is that the right things must be done. We must not do things that will jeopardise our hard earned democracy.
“If they had abducted the judge, they may go ahead to kill the judge and they will say that Rivers State is insecure.
“The way things are going, nobody should relax. Freedom comes with sacrifice. Independence comes with sacrifice. Liberty comes with sacrifice.
“We must resist this injustice. Nobody can intimidate Rivers people.”
The governor noted that contrary to the DSS’ statement, he was with senior Rivers indigenes when he “stopped the DSS’ unconstitutional act.” He said he was with Austin Opara, former deputy speaker of the state House of Assembly; Felix Obuah, state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, some members of the state and National Assembly as well as some caretaker chairmen. “When they said I was with thugs, I just laughed,” he said.
— Oct 10, 2016 @ 19:42 GMT