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February 7, 2023

Judiciary, security agencies, INEC liable if democracy fails —Wike

By Egufe Yafugborhi, PORT HARCOURT

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said that Nigeria’s judiciary, security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should be held responsible should the nation’s democracy collapse.

Wike, while swearing in five Rivers State High Court judges and two Customary Court of Appeal judges, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, said with enabling laws in place, Nigeria’s democracy should be safeguarded if the judiciary, security agencies and INEC were alive to their responsibilities with regards to the 2023 general election.

He charged the new judges: “To be firm, particularly this critical period when we are entering a transition period. I believe that the legislature has done its part by making the relevant laws in order to lead us. No law is permanent, no law is so perfect.

“As time goes on,  there will be amendments based on existing realities. But now, it is the duty of the judiciary, security agencies, and INEC to save this country. If this country collapses in this transition period, they should hold the judiciary, security agencies and INEC responsible.

“If INEC wants to conduct a free and fair election, that they can do. If the security agencies want, there will be peace. And if judiciary want the law to be interpreted the way it is, that they can do so. When that is done, people will be happy, people will have confidence that we are getting it right.

“But when you begin to see a lot of interpretations, you begin to wonder where we are heading. Different interpretations not from lawyers, but from the courts on the same subject matter.”

To the newly sworn-in judges, Wike said a lot of responsibilities lie on their shoulders under another transition circle, adding that it was meaningless for them to know the law and lack the courage to firmly declare its intent and spirit glaringly over cases before them.

Those sworn-in as judges of the state High Court at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House, yesterday, were Justice Asivosuo Oriye, Justice Comfort Adangor, Justice Beauty Emmanuel-Okere, Justice Omonigho Nwibani and Justice Prince Mini.

Those of the Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal sworn in were Justice Odiki Daniel-Kalio and Justice Tetenwi Eleraobari.