Fuming with anger, a fiery lawyer and the Coordinator of Lawyers with a Difference, Barr. Ikechukwu Nwaopara has called for an independent Armed bearing squad for the Judiciary as a solution to incessant humiliation of Judges and Nigerian Judiciary as a critical arm of government.
In an exclusive interview with NewsTrack reporter Ihuoma Chiemela, Mr. Nwaopara spoke on a number of issues as it concerns transparency in governance, Obedience to Rule of Law and the need to Judiciary to have powers to protect itself from undue harassment and intimidation.
My name is Barr Ikechukwu Nwaopara, legal practitioner, politician, former state party chairman of Democratic Front for a peoples Federation(DFPF), former Governorship Candidate of Movement for the restoration and defence of democracy(MRDD) in the 2019 Imo Governorship election, a social critic, human right activist, National Coordinator LAWYERS with a difference and the Executive Director Accountability Watch Initiative(AWI).
Recently, we understand that you are leading a group of lawyers who are interested in ensuring that good governance is enthroned, may we know what exactly what your group mean?
Well, I know that the word good governance has been abused to the extent that it has lost its true meaning.
For Lawyers with a difference, our aim and objective is simple. While we commend the present Mohammadu Buhari led government for granting local governments autonomy, we want to ensure that such effort is not a waste.
We want a situation where our people can hold these chairmen liable to their stewardship. Gone are the days when they blame governors for no performance. We want to ensure that every electoral promise made is not a conduit to fleece the people of their funds meant for development and improve the living standard of our people.
With passage of free information bill, we have been visiting local governments, agencies to ensure that there is compliance with the due process. We shall work closely with anti-corruption agencies to bring sanity to governance. Enough of the same old story. We want a saner society. We want the country to live its present state of stagnation.
Would you say that Imo State under Emeka Ihedioha has fared well or can we say there will be light at the end of the tunnel under this administration?
My sister, the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha so far has shown some flashes of a patriotic leader who is truly on a “Rebuild”.
That said, we have seen some issues worthy of commendation. The area of restoring civil service structure, which was in ruins under Ethelbert Okorocha’s regime. Again, we are seeing transparency in the area of award of contracts with the names of contractors known to the people of the state. These were strange practise under Okorocha.
However, it is our commission to help him succeed by reminding him by holding him accountable and ensuring that does not veer off the path of progress. We will even be more critical to at the grassroots to ensure that our local governments work and that they maintain sanity.
As a lawyer, what’s your take on the case of the convener of #Revolutionnow, Omoloye Sowore and his re-arrest by the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) with the court premises?
This act of impunity by the operatives is worrisome. We were all aware how cumbersome it was to secure bail amid stringent condition. It was a desecration of the temple of justice to begin to haggle to arrest him right inside the court room. It is unacceptable. It is true they have denied it is very glaring that it was gangsterism at play in the court room.
This is trading. In democracy, the Judiciary is of great importance as it serves as referee in the field of play. Whereby the Judges are being intimidated and hounded in a such a manner with no atom of respect, it then means that we are in trouble.
It is also a bit ill-conceived to have executive arm have a monopoly of controlling the state force agencies, thereby falling into the symptomatic disease of corruption of power.
My submission is that Judiciary should have an independent arm bearing squad to be under the control of the Judiciary. With this abuses of the state security agencies will be reduced. With this we are sure of the protection of our Judges, litigants and even when it comes to enforcement of court orders.
Under the present arrangement, we are breeding monster of tyranny. If our lawmakers are not thinking this way, then it will surely get to them one after the other. It is not enough to in to claim to be investigating matters, we need dead and retrogressive laws repealed. We are in democracy and we must abide by its ethos and tenets.
The Judiciary cannot continue to depend on the executive arm to function as an arm of government in terms of finance.The Judiciary cannot depend on the executive to enforce its judgments.The Judiciary cannot continue to depend on the executive to protect its premises, judges, lawyers, staff and litigants.