By Davies Iheamnachor
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has warned the federal government against implementing Executive Order 10, stating that it would destroy the criminal justice system in the states.
Wike also noted that Executive Order 10, which allows the deduction of funds from each state account to fund the judiciary, was politically motivated and geared toward the 2023 general election.
Wike, in his keynote address delivered at the 3rd Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organized by the Foundation for the Development of the Rule of Law in Abuja on Monday, opined that prior to the 2023 general election, FG, which has been hostile to judges, now he suddenly wants to attract the judiciary to assume that he believes in the independence of the judiciary, by promulgating Executive Order 10.
The governor in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by his Special Media Assistant, Kelvin Ebiri, noted that the politicization of the security issue by the FG has continued to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country, adding that the prevailing cases of Kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery that threatens the very existence and stability of the nation clearly justifies the establishment of the State or Community Police
He said: “Independence is not taking resources and presiding over the award of the contract. If you cannot judge according to your conscience; if you cannot pass judgment according to the law, then there is no independence. And this, of course, affects the criminal justice system ”.
He noted that while the establishment of the State Police may require the amendment of the current Section 214 (1) of the 1999 Constitution to provide State, the Rivers State Government is of the opinion that the Community Police or Neighborhood Watch could be established without a constitutional amendment.
“The truth of the matter is that with the current strength of the Nigerian Police at around 372,000, the Police lack the operational capacity to fulfill their core or core mandate of crime detection, crime prevention and maintenance of crime. public safety, law and order or protection of life and property of people in Nigeria.
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“To put it bluntly, the Nigerian Police lacks the operational capacity to police the nation, which is a federation of approximately 923,768 km (356,669 square meters) with an estimated population of 195.9 million. It is this stark reality that informs the call for the establishment of the State Police to provide a complementary role to the Nigerian Police in detecting crime, preventing and maintaining public order, ”he stated.
It further explained that it was in this context that the Rivers State Government enacted the Rivers State Neighborhood Security Corps Act, No. 8 of 2018, establishing the Rivers State Neighborhood Security Corps Agency as a corporate body and has the power to establish uniformed Neighborhood Safety. Corps in the 23 Areas of Local Government of the State and to prescribe regulations that guide the operations of the Security Corps and any other group of vigilantes of the Local Government in the State.
The Governor said: “The point being made here is that as long as the Federal Government continues to politicize security issues, whether national or local, our criminal justice system will remain seriously compromised. The sovereign power exercised by the Federal Government over security matters is evident in the irregular positions of Police Commissioners in the Rivers State Police Command.