The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad says Nigeria will suffer grave effect if judicial officers are consistently deprived of requisite infrastructure.
Justice Muhammad made the remark at the commissioning of 20 units of four bedroom duplexes built for Judges of Rivers origin serving both in the state and federal Judiciaries at the Emmanuel Chinwenwo Aguma Judges’ Quarters in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Justice Muhammad, who was represented by Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court, noted that Judges would be more confident to dispense justice if they have good shelter and welfare.
“Lagos and Rivers states rank among the most litigious states. The implication is that manpower and materials are perennially stretched far beyond limit to attend to the large number of cases filed daily.
“That explains the enormity of work before Judges. A good car, shelter and good welfare package are some of those things that can serve as magic wand to bring out the best from them.
“Whenever we deliberately or inadvertently toil with the welfare of judicial officers, we are unconsciously inflicting a debilitating wound on the conscience of the nation.
“We are not ignorant of Governor Nyesom Wike’s huge investment to improve infrastructure of federal courts. You are today also giving to Judges a life-long accommodation on owner- occupier basis,” he said.
“The facilities speak of the love the Rivers State governor has for the judiciary. The gesture will promote the comfort of the judicial officers and efficient justice delivery.
“Other governors should emulate Governor Wike in order to enhance the performance of Judges in the country for effective administration and dispensation of justice,” he stated.
Speaking, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said the Judiciary would be on a pedestal of efficiency and productivity with the support given to it by his administration.
“There is need to guarantee judicial independence and secure effective administration of justice.
“These are the overriding consideration for the unprecedented investment we have made in our judicial system.
“I cannot think of any state government with similar welfare scheme we have made. This will have profound and positive impact on judicial officers.
“We have moved our Judiciary from the valley of neglect to an enviable hilltop of independence, capacity and effectiveness,” he stated.
Wike said the provision of accommodation for judicial officers is a deliberate attempt to enhance their productivity and also ensure that they benefit like those in the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government.
“One arm of government that is key in the fight against corruption is the judiciary. Judges cannot fight corruption when they are not provided with the basic facilities.
“I am in the Executive as a Governor and I enjoy. The Legislature enjoy. So, why will people think that the Judiciary is cursed,” he noted.
Wike appealed to the President of the Court of Appeal to increase the number of Judges in the state to tally with the accommodation provided by the state government for them.
He said that the gesture of the state government would end the era when judges retire and have no shelter.
“Given the constitutional restriction on legal practice, post-legal service years could be miserable for judges who were unable to buy or build their own homes before leaving the service.
“With our policy, the state now bears the full responsibility to providing befitting accommodation for all judicial officers of Rivers State origin beyond their service years for life.
“The state government spent the sum of N6billion to build, furnish and landscape this estate. The government also reserves the interest to buy back any flat and reallocate to other judges to preserve the exclusivity of the estate for judicial officers alone.
“Twenty-three Judges opted for cash payment and have been given the approved sum of N150 million each to build and have their own houses. Cumulatively, the state government disbursed the sum of N3.6billion to the beneficiaries.
“The policy covers all former Chief Judges, Presidents of Customary Courts of Appeal, including Justice Peter Agumagu. All retired Judges who were in service when the policy was made. The current Chief Judge of the state will have her accommodation built for her before retirement in May, 2021,” he stated.
In her remarks, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem noted that the facility would enable judicial officers to do their work well.
Justice Dongban-Mensem also said that good facilities would make Judges not to be afraid but to courageously dispense justice without fear or favour.
According to her, what the Wike administration has done should serve as a template for other state governments to emulate to make the working condition of judges better.
In her remarks, Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra expressed the delight of Judges to witness another practical fulfilment of promises made by the governor.
She noted that Judges who live in such tastefully furnished houses would be motivated to put in their best in the delivery of justice.
The Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri said Judges work under very challenging situations, adding that what they have received from the Wike administration would assuage the challenges because they can concentrate to do better.
The Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor said by the gesture, the Wike administration has enthroned a virile and independent justice system that would enable judges to work uprightly.
Also speaking, the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said when judges are provided with comfortable living houses and good welfare, they would perform better.
Speaking for the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Onueze Okocha, noted the foresightedness of the governor in achieving the feat.
Speaking on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Dr. Theo Osanakpo, said the action of the governor would provide opportunity for optimal performance by the Judges of the Court of Appeal.
The Chairman of the Port Harcourt Branch of NBA, Prince Nyekwere, said the support of the governor to the Judiciary would remain unrivaled.
Similarly, the Rivers State Commissioner for Housing, Elder Chinedu Tasie Nwabueze, said the project was conceived and executed by the governor for Judges who would take possession of their houses immediately.
The residences comprise of six Bedroom Duplex with Boys Quarters for the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, with four number six Bedroom Duplexes at Forces Avenue, two number six Bedroom Duplexes at Akasa Street, one number six Bedroom Duplex at Elelenwo Street, and one number four Bedroom Bungalow at Ejor Street for other Judges and 16 flats for staff of the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has commended the state Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike for immortalizing the late former Attorney General, Chinwenwo Aguma.
In a statement in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Banigo said the late Chinwenwo Aguma served the state meritoriously, and deserves all the honours accorded to him.
According to Banigo, the late Chinwenwo Aguma would be remembered for the passion, dedication, selflessness and panache he brought to bear in the discharge of his responsibilities as Attorney General, noting that Wike’s penchant for rewarding hard work was unparalleled.
Banigo said that with the commissioning of the Chinwenwo Aguma Judges’ Quarters as well as the Court of Appeal Justices, residents and staff quarters, Wike has again blazed the trail as the first governor in the country to deliberately execute programmes and policies not only to guarantee the independence of the Judiciary but also to create the enabling environment for judicial officers to dispense Justice without fear or favour, adding that the governor was indeed the pride of Rivers State.
Wike Bemoans Lack Of Effective Wike Bemoans Lack Of Effective
Such effective leadership, when identified, Wike said, should place service above self and work to secure enduring development for the people and the country.
Wike made the observation at the inauguration of the dualised Ogbunuabali-Eastern Bypass Road that was performed by the former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, yesterday.
The governor noted how wrong it is for people to think that leadership is a function of political party, when it is actually about the mind-set of the individual.
“Leadership is not about party, leadership is about individual. Party is only a vehicle to actualise your ambition, to be able to tell your people I have this capacity, I have this quality to render services to you. If take me away today from PDP to another party, I will still perform. So, it is not because I’m in PDP that I’m performing.
“It is because I have that passion for my people. It is because I have the commitment to serve my people. Take me to YPP, allow me to become whatever I will become there, I will perform. Take me to any party, I will perform. So, it is not party that makes you to perform.”
Wike stated that his undying love, passion and commitment to render effective service to Rivers people have sufficiently differentiated him from other politicians.
That is why, he asserted, there was a sustained commitment to add value to life, impact change with the infrastructure revolution and make the state better.
Wike said while others had used the economic hardship as excuse not to render leadership and service to their people, he found a more rewarding way to sustain the delivery of projects in Rivers.
He took a swipe at certain misguided politicians of the state extraction who misconceived his assertion on Monday that he was in charge of the state.
“Because some people went to school late, they don’t understand when somebody says I am in charge of this state. I never said I am in charge of votes in this state. But I know I can talk to my people and my people will listen to me. Some people say, I have only one vote, I agree. I can’t vote two times. I will only vote once. But because of the services I have rendered to the people of this state, the state will listen to me.
“Someone called me last night and said people are complaining that Nigerian economy is dying, the hardship is becoming too much, but every day we are commissioning projects and flagging-off new ones in Rivers State, am I not in this same Nigeria? I told him that the amount of money you have is not important, what is important is your passion to serve and your love for your people because leadership is about the passion to serve your people.
“If you are committed to the job and you love your people, no matter the small money you are getting, you would be able to do something for people to see and appreciate.
The governor took a swipe at some politicians in Rivers State who he described as scavengers for their inability to use their closeness to the seat of power to attract government projects and programmes to their people.
“Some people claimed that they are close to those in government, there is nothing wrong in being close those in authority, but the question is, what have your people benefited from your closeness to those in government? Let them tell us.
“May God forgive me that I will be close to a president or vice president and my people cannot boast of anything to show for it, I don’t want to be close to any president or vice president that my people would not benefit from,” the governor stated.
The governor stated that he had remained a consistent politician, not playing double game, and urged Rivers people to be happy that they have a governor who will always defend the state.
Wike thanked the people of Ogbunuabali for their cooperation while the project lasted even if they had initially rejected it.
He used the occasion to lift the ban on youths’ activities in Ogbunuabali community, and announced the release of N2billion he promised the community.
In inaugurating the Ogbunuabali-Eastern Bypass Road, former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko noted with delight the leadership capacity that Wike has demonstrated in serving Rivers people.
Wamakko said any well-meaning government should serve to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of the governed.
“I want to thank you for giving me the honour to be part of your success story, may God encourage you to do more.
“When you asked me to come and commission this project, it was really a welcome development for my community and the people I represent because to me, leadership is about meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people you govern, and that you have done very well, I commend you for that,” the senator said.
He noted that as a talk and do governor, Wike has done adequately well for his people.
On his part, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr Dakorinama George-Kelly said the Ogbunuabali-Eastern Bypass Road was a single carriage way of 7.3meters wide but it was totally scarified and completely rebuilt.
Today, he noted, the 2.19km long road which has been dualised, has 4.38km width on each side of the lane, 650meters median on the Ogbunuabali axis, 1.5meters median on the Eastern By-pass axis and has 4.38km of drainage length.
“The total length of Ogbunabali dualized road with extension to Eastern Bypass is 2.19km with drainages on both sides up to 4.38km.
“On the Ogbunabali axis, we have median stripe of 750m and at the Eastern Bypass axis we have median strip of 1.5m.
“Sub-structurally, this road was a single carriageway, it was totally rebuilt. 6mm thickness of sand-filling was done, 150mm thickness of cement soil stabilisation was done, and 150mm thickness of stone base was done.
“This road project was completed within the specified time and quality”, the commissioner said.
In his address, the South-South Regional Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Juergen Fischer, said they started with the first project of the Wike’s administration, operation zero potholes which culminated into the ongoing urban renewal programme.
According to him, they were delighted working with Wike to achieve his development dreams for Rivers, and thanked him for the opportunity.
Be Obedient To God’s Instructions, Oyedepo Tells Congregants
On his part, the husband, Bishop David Oyedepo, said obedience was better than sacrifice.
The couple spoke at this at the church’s monthly leadership conference at the weekend.
Oyedepo’s wife, while citing Isaiah 1:19-20, stressed the need for Christians to be obedient to spiritual instructions to enjoy the good of the land.
She said: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 1:19-20).
She urged the church to pray for God’s Spirit to serve and be obedient.
In his sermon, Bishop David Oyedepo, while unravelling the mystery of the covenant of obedience, said: “To be obedient is better than sacrifice. Obedience may be costly but the end result is always priceless.
“When you live your life as a seed, its impact lives for generations after you”.
RSG Unveils, Flags Off 15 Key Projects In 15 Days …Kick-Starts Two New Flyovers, Azikiwe-Illoabuchi Road Dualisation …Opens Orochiri-Worukwo Flyover, Ogbunabali-Eastern Bypass Road, Two Others For Use
Similarly, the Governor Nyesom Wike-led government will inaugurate the Ogbunabali-Eastern Bypass Road, also in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, tomorrow.
According to a schedule of events made available to The Tide by the government, last Friday, the former Sokoto State Governor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko will perform the ceremony at Ogbunabali Junction.
Also to be commissioned on August 11, by the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. M.K, Fadah, is the 5,000-capacity NYSC Auditorium; while the new State House of Assembly Quarters will be inaugurated by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on August 12.
However, on Wednesday, August 10, the former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, will flag off the dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Between August 16 and 26, 10 more projects would either be commissioned or inaugurated across the state.
These include the Government VIP Lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Ikwerre Local Government Area on August 16; unveiling of the remodelled Waterlines Building on Port Harcourt/Aba Express Road by Waterlines Junction in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Wednesday, August 17; flag off of the construction of the 11th flyover at Ikwerre Road by Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Junctions in Obio/Akpor LGA on Thursday, August 18; and the flag off of the 12th flyover at Mgbuoba-Ozuoba/Ada-George Road by Location Junction in Obio/Akpor LGA on Friday, August 19.
Other landmark projects lined up for special commissioning or flag off are the construction of Omagwa internal roads on Saturday, August 20; and flag off of Igwuruta internal roads on Monday, August 22, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area; as well as unveiling of land reclamation, shore protection, road network, drains, power station and water reticulation, and housing complex at Ogbum-Nu-Abali sandfill, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday, August 23.
The rest are the unveiling of a police station at Ogum-Nu-Abali sandfill-Eastern Bye-pass area on Wednesday, August 24; Eneka internal roads in Obio/Akpor on Thursday, August 25; as well as Community Secondary School, Obuama (Harry’s Town) in Degema Local Government Area, Friday, August 26.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Special Assistant (Media and Documentation) to the state Commissioner for Works, Dornubari Kiinee, last Saturday, indicated that following plans to commission the Orochiri/Worukwo (Waterlines) Flyover, both ends of the flyover had been consequently closed on Saturday, August 6, 2022 at 12 noon to enable the ministry prepare for the commissioning ceremony.
The statement explained that “Vehicular movement from Garrison will be diverted through Oroworukwo; traffic from Hotel Presidential Junction will be diverted through GRA Junction. The flyover will be opened for use immediately after the ceremony on Monday”.
The statement further said that “The Ogbunuabali axis will be temporarily closed and traffic diverted accordingly until after the ceremony” on Tuesday.
Kiinee said that, “Furthermore, the dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road will be flagged-off on Wednesday, 10 August, 2022 by former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko. That road will be closed also and traffic diverted to neighbouring streets for the period of six months”.
According to the statement, “As preparation for the commencement of the construction of the 11th and 12th flyovers reaches its final stage, the Commissioner for Works, Rivers State, Dr. George-Kelly Dax Alabo, wishes to use this medium to inform residents of Rivers State, particularly motorists plying Ikwerre Road and NTA Road that there will be road closures around the axis of Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Junction, and Location Junction by Ada-George, where these projects are to be sited.
“This new development will last for the period of 10 months, which is the stipulated duration of the construction work.
“Motorists are kindly advised to use alternative routes to be outlined thus: Vehicles coming from NTA axis will pass through Farm Road to Ben Wosley along Ada-George Road, or through Ohakwe Street.
“As for Rumuokwuta/Rumuola flyover project, traffic will be diverted to Psychiatric Road; those coming from Wimpy Junction will be diverted to Road 1 through Kala Police Station”.
The commissioner appealed to the people of Rivers State to show understanding and patience with the state government, whilst the meaningful projects are flagged-off and commissioned in record time for traffic decongestion in the metropolis.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
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