BREAKING NEWS: Rivers: Group alleges plots to compromise judiciary - Reportgist

BREAKING NEWS: Rivers: Group alleges plots to compromise judiciary

Reportgist
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The Citizens Advocacy Against Corruption (CAAC) has raised an alarm over an alleged plot by former members of the Rivers State Assembly to compromise the judiciary.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

At a press conference in Abuja, the group claimed that these political actors are attempting to buy court rulings and undermine the confidence of citizens in the judiciary.

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The CAAC specifically highlighted the transfer of cases challenging the defection of the 25 former members of the state assembly from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Federal High Court 4, Port Harcourt, to Court Two, presided over by Justice E. O. Obele.

The group expressed concerns that the transfer may be a strategy to delay the cases and allow the former lawmakers to continue parading as lawmakers, potentially leading to a crisis in Rivers State. They also fear that the transfer may be seen as an attempt to shop for a judge or court that will provide a favorable ruling.

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The group urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, to take measures to discipline any erring judge who allows themselves to be compromised while also calling on Nigerians to be vigilant and ensure that the judiciary is not compromised by political interests.

Read full press statement below:

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Citizens Advocacy Against Corruption (CAAC) finds it imperative to urgently raise the alarm over the ominous clouds gathering for the future of democracy in Nigeria given the series of events unfolding in the polity. The darkest part of this cloud hovers over Rivers State, where Nigerians are being reminded daily that judgment can be bought and sold, leaving the masses without justice and hope.

We have had cause to raise the alarm over untoward scheming by desperate political gladiators, who have concluded that the best way to have their way is by compromising the judiciary. They will then proceed to buy court rulings as if they were commodities to be traded at the peril of citizens. Even if the contrary were true, how these political actors throw the federal might around in judicial matters threatens to undermine the confidence citizens have in the judiciary.
This concern was revived and heightened when the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho, transferred cases challenging the defection of 25 former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

It is of note that the cases were transferred from Federal High Court 4, Port Harcourt, presided over by Justice Steven Dalyop Pam to Court Two, presided over by Justice E. O. Obele. It should be noted further that we have nothing against the CJ transferring cases as he deems fit but the cases in Rivers State carry the taint of the boasts by the former lawmakers and their political camp that they are backed by federal might and would secure whatever kind of judgment is necessary to return them to the parliament after they carelessly lost their seats.

Even though former Speaker. Martins Amaewhule, a defendant in the matter, had petitioned to request that the cases against him be transferred to another court, we fear that it is a strategy that can tarnish the Chief Judge because of all the snide utterances that have been coming from his camp. The CJ is now simply appearing like someone falling into a snare set by these political actors.

This trap includes delay tactics that allow the former lawmakers to continue parading as who they are not to foment trouble, which is a strategy they adopted to grind down Rivers State into crisis after it became glaring that they could not return to the House of Assembly having willingly given up their seats. The transfer of the case therefore has implications for the peace of Rivers State and by extension the peace of the entire Nigeria.

A further implication is that, though it is within the rights of citizens to ask Judges to vacate sitting on cases they are not comfortable with, this one suggests to common sense that Martin Amaewhule and his cronies are out to procure the judiciary to answer to their wishes. This amounts to the defendant in this case creating the impression of shopping for a judge or court that will sell him a favourable ruling. This cannot be healthy for democracy in any way should he find such a judge.

The judiciary and all well-meaning Nigerians must be vigilant of the plot by these political elements to compromise the Nigerian judiciary. As Nigerians, we must wake up to the reality on the ground and be vigilant to ensure that nothing strange happens in this case since the handling of the cases involving these former members of the Rivers House of Assembly will influence the future direction of citizens’ representation in parliament and also the stability of the polity.

We nonetheless commend the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice John Tsoho, who allowed the transfer of the case even at great risk to his reputation considering the nonsense that the former speaker’s political camp has been spewing. We praise the steadfastness of the former trial judge, Justice Steven Dalyop Pam, whose insistence on fairness and equity put the fear of the Lord in those who discovered that they could not buy him over even after repeated attempts. He did well by adhering to his oath of office and refusing to pervert justice.

We believe that the presiding judge of Court Two, Justice E. O. Obele will avail himself of the precedence set by the Chief Judge and Justice Pam and not jettison his oath of office. He must be mindful that he is dealing with a bunch of people who will stop at nothing to create the impression that they have settled him and that he would be pliant in their case.

Furthermore, the Citizens Advocacy Against Corruption calls on the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola to remain awake and set all machinery in motion to discipline any erring judge who allows him or herself to be misled or swept off the course of justice by the political tide in any part of the country.

Lastly, we call on Nigerians that now is not the time to be indifferent to what is happening in the space where politics and the judicial processes intersect. Nigerians! Beware, be vigilant!>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

God Bless Nigeria.

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