Rivers State Governor,

Wike stated this when the executive members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt branch paid him a courtesy visit on Friday, November 4.

He said the u-turn by the National Judicial Council (NJC) will encourage politicians to write petitions against any judge whose judgement is likely to go against such politician.

The NJC had on Thursday, November 3, suspended the seven judges arrested by the Department of State Service (DSS) on corruption allegations.

Wike said: "This move to ask judges to step aside is in favour of politicians because no judge will and deliver judgement against government or a ruling party.

"The implication is that politicians can now write as many petitions alleging that they saw a judge taking brown envelope – which will warrant the judge to be asked to step aside.

"For us, politicians, we are happy with this development because if I notice that I will lose a case, then I will tell my lawyer to write a petition which will result to the judge stepping aside.

"So, in other not to be alleged to have done anything wrong, judges will not give judgement against government or the ruling party.

"This is because, if a judge delivers judgement against government or the ruling party, then agencies of government will come after them."

Wike said the development portend grave danger to the judiciary arm of government and to the common man.

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He said the move is a clear manipulation and attempt to silence the opposition, especially as the nation is heading toward 2019 general elections.

The governor said that example to the manipulations is INEC’s quick reaction to announce federal and state legislative rerun elections shortly after the National Assembly ordered it to do so.

He said: "Simply because the Senate said it must conduct election within five weeks; the next day, INEC came up with a time table for the election.

"This is the same INEC that cited insecurity as reason why it could not conduct elections in Rivers, and now within one day after Senate’s position, the same INEC released a time table.

"The question is when did INEC meet security agencies to now take a position that there is no longer security problem in Rivers state, hence the decision to conduct the rerun elections.

"All these boil down to manipulations which not only endanger our democracy but threatens us as a people."

Wike said that lawyers and judicial workers in the state have a penchant for not paying their taxes which has affected government revenue portfolio.

He said that lawyers ought to lead by example in payment of their taxes to enable government to carry out its developmental functions.