Few hours ago, reports revealed that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has twice visited the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, at the Supreme Court in Abuja this month.
One of his visits to the CJN coincided with the day the Rivers state governorship election petitions tribunal conducted hearing in an application filed by Wike to challenge an order permitting his opponent to inspect the electoral materials used for the poll that brought him to office.
However, the CJN has confirmed Governor Wike’s visits. Punch reports that the CJN made it known through a statement by his media aide earlier today that although the governor visited him twice this month, he met his absence.
The statement reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to insinuations in some dailies that the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike had met with the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON, during one of his visits to the office of the CJN on July 6 and July 8 this year.
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“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 the Governor Wike on July 6, 2015, his Lordship was away in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah. On the date of the alleged second visit, which was on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 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 was a policy of the CJN not to entertain visits of politicians especially those with cases in the courts.
“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.”
Recall that Chief Olisa Metuh from PDP had reacted to the news, saying there was nothing wrong with the visits. He also stated that the governor had the right to pay official visit to the CJN, adding that Wike should not be vilified because of that.