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Nigerian govt tagging opposition figures security risks, seizing their passports, Gov Wike alleges



Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has alleged that the Federal Government is dubiously tagging opposition figures as security risks and seizing their passports.

Wike, who made the allegation on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 61st Annual General Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in Port Harcourt, said Nigeria has never been badly governed as currently being done.

He said: “Never in our political history has Nigeria been so badly governed and denied of good governance with the Federal Government woefully failing in its basic duties to provide for the wellbeing and security of its own citizens as we have experienced in the last six years.

“On a daily basis, the economic, social and political rights, including the rights to personal security, freedom of speech, association, dissent and peaceful protests, as well as the right to personal liberty are being violated with impunity by the present central administration and its security apparatus.

“The invasion on personal liberty has been brazen and indiscriminate, such that even judges of the superior courts, including Supreme Court justices, have in the recent past been victims of midnight assaults on their premises and subjection to unlawful arrests and imprisonments.

“Lately, the new devious trend is to tag security risks to innocent Nigerians and opposition elements and use the Immigration Authority to seize their international passports without a prior court order.”

Governor Wike, who called on the Supreme Court to give the case of the Value Added Tax currently before it an accelerated hearing, also faulted the Federal Government’s Executive Order 10, saying there is the need for a judicial interpretation.

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According to the governor, there was the need to seek judicial interpretation of the Executive Order 10 because, in itself, it is an oppressive erosion of the powers and autonomy of the sub-national governments to administer their own judicial budgets in line with prevailing economic indices.

He said: “It is for similar reasons of strengthening fiscal federalism that we are in court to determine the proper authority, under our Constitution for imposing and collecting the Value Added Tax in our country.

“These are very nationally sensitive issues and Nigerians are eagerly waiting for the final outcome of the judicial process.

“We therefore wonder why the Supreme Court is not giving accelerated hearing to these matters and respectfully request that this should be done in the national interest.”

Governor Wike also called on all concerned to work collectively towards building a strong legal system that is well-resourced, independent and effective in the administration of justice.

He further charged Nigerian lawyers to engage in judicial activism as a measure to address the slow dispensation of justice and attempts to stifle the rights of citizens.

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