Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has said that the fear of insecurity and intimidation of judges raised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has vindicated PDP’s position that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is using devious means to obstruct justice in the nation’s courts.
The NBA, through its President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, had said the level of insecurity in the country and the attack on the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession constituted a threat to the rule of law and by extension to democracy.
It said the climate of fear instilled by the federal government undermined the independence of the judiciary and the ability of judges to act confidently without fear or favour in dispensing justice as they were being threatened, intimidated and blackmailed by agents of the executive arm of government both at federal and state levels.
Secondus, in a statement by his media office, agreed with the accusations against the federal government, saying the NBA’s alarm merely confirms the position of PDP that the APC administration is shrinking the doctrine of separation of power to enable a full-blown dictatorship to blossom.
The PDP chairman said judges and justices by their calling could not speak out publicly even if they were under pains except through the bar as had been eloquently and timely done by NBA.
He said the PDP had continuously raised the alarm on the gradual erosion of the doctrines of separation of powers by the APC administration while the executive had continued to muzzle the other arms of government and even the press.
According to him, the opposition has remained resolute in crying out loud against harassment of those with opposing views because it clearly envisages the danger of concentration of power in one hand, especially with a leader who has no history of appreciating and respecting democratic tenets and principles.
Secondus, however, expressed the hope that even in the face of harassment and intimidation, the judiciary knowing its critical position in the sustenance of democracy would not be cowed.
Secondus also condoled with the people of Kom Kom in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State who lost their lives in the gas pipeline explosion that killed dozens of citizens when Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was carrying out routine maintenance of the facility in the area.
“Our hearts are with you at this trying times,” Secondus said while lamenting the incessant hazard facing the people of the Niger Delta due to the neglect and insensitivity of the federal government to listen to their cries for a better living environment.
He also commiserated with victims of the killings in Zamfara and other states in North-west and the North-east.
He urged relevant authorities, including oil and gas companies, to show some sensitivities on the plight of the people of the Niger Delta on the health hazards they are exposed to as a result of exploration of natural resources.