By Chioma Nnodim
Minister, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Barr Nyesom Wike has vowed to ensure the provision of infrastructure before land is allocated in the nation’s capital.
Wike made this known when he played host to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court led by Justice John Tsoho on Thursday in Abuja.
The minister stated that allocating land to individuals in inaccessible places is not financially rational.
Justice Tsoho had asked the government to take the courts into account while allocating land.
Responding, Wike declared his unwavering support for the Legislature and the Judiciary, adding that he thinks the three branches of government should be equal and independent.
He said that President Bola Tinubu had already mandated him to provide lands to key officials in the three arms, saying he is developing a template that would see the allocation done in phases.
According to him: “Like you rightly said, I believe that the three arms of government must work together even though independently and I believe that no arm of government should be treated lesser than the other.
“Without the judiciary, our democracy cannot survive. Nigerians are talking about the judiciary today because of the role you play and so whatever is required to strengthen the judiciary is not over-demanding.
“Before now, the President had given me the go ahead to allocate lands to the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. What remains now is how it should be done because the number is much. What we have decided to do is to do this in phases. All cannot be done at the same time.
“Some allocations were done in the past but unfortunately, some of the places are inaccessible. I think it is baseless allocating land where people have no access, that is, infrastructure. It does not make any sense. So, we will allocate lands to you in places that are accessible.”
Earlier in his remarks, Justice Tsoho commended the minister for his continued support to the judicial arm of government, saying as governor, the welfare of judicial officers in Rivers became the envy of their counterparts in other states.
He said Wike’s great antecedents in Rivers must have earned him this current position.
His words:”I commend Your Excellency’s bias for the judiciary and you have always seen it as your primary constituency. The welfare of the Rivers state judiciary was second to none and you raised the bar so high that it became the envy of judicial officers in other states.
“It is with that confidence that we bring the anguish of the FHC to you. The peculiarities of our job due to transfers takes us to several places. Consequently, we are denied various forms of policies for enhancing welfare of judges since we are not part of the judiciary of those states and failure to cater for our interests at the Federal level makes us stateless.
“I kindly urge your excellency to use your good offices in allocating landed property to FHC judges. We appreciate our large number and recommend that this be done in batches, scattered across the FCT,” he requested.
He also notified the minister of the golden jubilee celebration of the Federal High Court which is slated to take place in December.