JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY WATCHDOG (JAW)
His Lordship Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed
National Judicial Council
Supreme Court Complex
JUDICIARY FOR SALE IN RIVERS STATE AND THE NEED FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION:
Our organization, the Judiciary Accountability Watchdog (JAW) is a civil society organization in the South-south and we are deeply saddened by the unbridled corruption and corrupt tendencies in the judiciary in Rivers state, as in the eyes of the public, justice is up for sale in the state.
We further wish to draw your attention to the penchant of senior judicial officers to turn themselves, family members and cronies to state government contractors. The case of the serving Chief Judge (Justice Iyayi Laminkara) in this ugly development which has automatically forced her to act shamelessly as “barber’s chair”, dancing to the whims of the political class in Rivers state.
Your Lordship, in specific terms, we invite the NJC under your chairmanship to investigate the activities of the judiciary in the handling of political cases in the state as the judiciary was effectively used to stop opposition political parties from fielding candidates in 2019. The case of three different political parties readily comes to mind. In 2020 alone, an outgoing judicial officer (Justice George Omereji) notorious for dishing out favourable court orders/judgements to the ruling party and its cronies and a new recruit into the fold of judges notorious for handling politically-related matters (Justice Florence Fiberesima) have been detailed to ensure that opposition parties in the state are perpetually quarantined.
Today, in the Rivers state judiciary it is common knowledge that the Chief Judge of the state and other senior judicial officials serially obtain and execute state government contracts through family members, thereby exposing the entire judiciary to Executive manipulation and forcing this all-important arm of government to serve as an appendage of the ruling party in Rivers state and by extension the Governor.
Several pronouncements of the courts in Rivers state exposes the judiciary to ridicule on daily basis as interim orders, perpetual orders and judgements particularly touching on favouring politically exposed persons (PEPs) in the state. In Rivers state, judgements and court orders are served ala carte at the prompting of the ruling party and Governor to motify participatory democracy in the state and by extension the nation.
Our organization hereby call upon the NJC whose duties and functions are clearly spelt out as one of the Federal Executive Council bodies created under Part 1 of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended; to immediately swing into action to investigate the rot and corruption in the Rivers state judiciary and the penchant of the Chief Justice and other senior judicial officers to surrender the integrity of the judiciary to the State Governor and ruling party. As we know it today, case files involving political matters are first transmitted to Government House for directives on which pliable judges such cases should be assigned to.
Your Lordship, we will be forced to publish more sordid details of the contracts obtained by judicial officers in Rivers state and how the bench has been compromised in the state to favour the state Governor and the ruling party if our petition is not thoroughly investigated. Thank you.