The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday, refuted reports that he had hosted Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State twice in his chamber at the Supreme Court.
The CJN, through a statement that was issued on Monday by his media aide, Mr. Ahuraka Isah, insisted that contrary to what was reported by a section of the media yesterday, he never at any time had an audience with Governor Wike in relation to any matter whatsoever.
He, however, acknowledged that Wike visited his office on July 6 and July 8.
According to the CJN, whereas he was not within the country the first time Wike visited his chamber, he was observing the interview of shortlisted applicants for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, on July 8 when the governor repeated his visit, and was only informed about the development the next day.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to insinuations in some dailies that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had met with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Honourable Justice Mahmud Mohammed, during one of his visits to the office of the CJN on July 6 and 8.
“However, we would not have ordinarily wished to react to such stories except for the misinformation and the erroneous impression it may cast in the mind of the public.
“We wish to state with all emphasis that the CJN at no time had an audience with Governor Wike. This include before, on and after the said date.
“For further clarification, during the week of the purported first visit by Governor Wike on July 6, his Lordship was away in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah.
“On the date of the alleged second visit, which was on Wednesday July 8, the CJN was in Court observing the interview of shortlisted applicants for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“A senior official in the CJN chamber intercepted Governor Wike and advised that it is a policy of the CJN not to entertain visits of politicians, especially those with cases in the courts.
Why Wike visited
“Consequently, Governor Wike left at that point, even though he tried to state reasons for his visit, which included the issue of the appointment of substantive Chief Judge for his state and to thank the CJN for sending the Bayelsa State Chief Judge to swear him into the office.
“In fact, his Lordship was not even aware of the visit until the next morning. The CJN, therefore, did not see the Governor as reported in the said dailies.
“I wish to assure the good people of Rivers State and Nigeria that the CJN and, indeed, the entire Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is veritably committed to upholding the integrity, neutrality and independence of our judiciary.
“This is a responsibility, which we hold dear and will not shirk.”