‘Rivers Judiciary Needs Courageous Judges’

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L-R: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, his wife, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange and Senator Lee Maeba riding the pedal boat at the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, yesterday.

As a way of charting a new course for the Rivers State Judiciary in the future, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has tasked judges and other judicial officers to be courageous in the dispensation of justice.
Wike gave the charge at a special court session organised by the state judiciary to mark Rivers State Golden Jubilee, yesterday, in Port Harcourt.
The governor insisted that it was the only way to sustain justice, and equity in the land even though he acknowledged that the judiciary has made huge achievements in the past 50 years, and stressed the need for all arms to work together to move the state forward.
He said, “We need more of those who are courageous to run the judiciary, especially in the delivery of justice. Intellect is not enough.”
For him, “If you don’t have courage, then justice cannot be done.”
Wike said his call had become necessary considering the fact that many judges are being persecuted by the government, adding that this reason, many of them are shunning cases that are political to avoid being witch-hunted.
In Rivers State, he held that the case was different as his administration will give the judiciary independence and funds to operate as an autonomous arm of government, assuring, “We will not intervene in what they are doing.”
Also as part of measures to give the judiciary the leverage it needs, he disclosed that the state government has acquired land to build houses for retired judges who have served both state and federal governments, as he explained that the gesture was to ensure these judicial officers enjoy some measure of comfort after service.
Earlier, Chief Judge of the state, Justice Adama Inyie Iyayi-Lamikanra, had commended past judges and other judicial officers that contributed to the growth of the state judiciary over the years.
She held that the Golden Jubilee provides for reflection and stocktaking but praised the efforts so far made by the state governor to reform the state judiciary and enforce the rule of law.
Justice Iyayi-Lamikanra said, “The judiciary under the new era is celebrated in all ramifications”, and promised that, “As the third arm of government, we shall support the development efforts of the governor through a strategic approach to justice delivery.”
The state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Emmanuel Aguma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), submitted that the judiciary in the state has passed through dark times, and has survived.
He thanked past leaders of the state who contributed to the growth and development of the judiciary, and promised that, “The next 50 years will be visionary and driven by high technology for efficient delivery of justice.”
Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Onueze Okocha and B.N. Wifa said Rivers State has fared well in the past 50 years in the legal profession.
In the words of Okocha, “The bar has grown in leaps and bounds, and the Port Harcourt Bar has existed before 1967”.
Today, he said, the state has 25 senior advocates, and now the centre of excellence in law practice.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Port Harcourt Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Omubo Victor Frank Briggs, congratulated the chief judge and the state in general for the milestone of clocking 50 years.
Despite few setbacks, the Port Harcourt NBA chairman, noted that the bar has grown over the years to about 5,000 members, adding that it has played great role in development of the judiciary in Rivers State.