Rivers Judiciary Denies Extortion Of Litigants

Deputy Group News Editor of The Tide Newspapers, Mr. Reward Akwu (middle), with teachers and pupils of Celia International High School, during an excursion visit to the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation (RSNC) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. Photo: Ibioye Diama

The management of Rivers State Judiciary has described as false an allegation that the office of the Chief Judge was demanding between N500 and N1,000 from litigants before their letters could be received and registered.

A statement issued by the management of the State Judiciary and made available to journalists stated that the State High (Civil Procedures) Rules 2010 outlined different categories of payment to be paid by litigants such as court fees for applications, letters, affidavits, judgements, orders, security bonds, warrants as well as Writs Second Schedule which includes transfer of cases and fees payable in criminal appeals from the magistrate courts among others.

According to the statement, “these fees vary from N500.00 upward depending on the situation and have been in practice and was not introduced by the present administration in the judiciary led by the Chief Judge, Justice A.I. Iyayi-Lamikanra”.

The State Judiciary said that the explanation became imperative following the allegation in a lead tabloid titled “Bad Condition, Office of Rivers CJ Demands N500, N1,000 for letters,” stressing that the Rivers State Judiciary does not engage in any unlawful collection or extortion of money from Rivers people and Nigeria, but acts in accordance with an organ of government charged with the responsibility of interpreting the laws, and punishing law offenders or breakers.

The fees collected are in accordance with the High Court (Civil Procedures) Rules 2010″.

“More importantly, the reporter and the publishers of the said local tabloid did not contact the Chief Judge or the Chief Registrar of the High Court or any management staff of the Rivers State Judiciary for clarification on the issue before going to the press, which is professionally ethical in journalism practice”, the statement said.

“We therefore warn the detractors against the campaign of calumny against the hard-earned image and reputation of the Chief Judge of Rivers State, who has a track record throughout her years of service in Rivers State.

“We also advise the reporter and publisher of the said newspaper as well as the press to always cross-check their facts before publication, so as to avoid spreading false and misleading information to members of the public”, the statement said.