Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
As Rivers State and the entire nation mourn the passage of the late retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, three prominent members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers have said the loss will be hard to fill.
Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe and immediate past Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, have expressed profound sadness and pain over the demise of Karibi-Whyte.
Amaechi, in a statement issued by his media office yestetday, refered to the deceased as a father and great advisor.
He had during his time as governor of Rivers State appointed Karibi-Whyte Pro Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) to strengthen the institution’s education and values.
He said, “Justice Karibi-Whyte for me was a father figure. He was an exemplary personality, a great advisor and I have the utmost respect for him.
“During his tenure as Pro Chancellor of RSUST where he brought his astute disposition and intellect to bear, there was a remarkable turnaround in the quality of education and handling of affairs in the institution.
“He was also a key member of the state’s Economic Advisory Council when I was governor and my administration and Rivers State benefited richly from his wealth of experience and expertise.
“As a justice of the Supreme Court, he was very upright, fearless and upheld the rule of law. He was a colossus and great teacher. I will miss him deeply. Rivers State and Nigeria just lost a good man, a great man”, Amaechi said.
Amaechi prayed for the repose of the soul of the departed and comfort for his wife and entire family.
Also, a former senator who represented Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, condoled with the judiciary in Nigeria and the Whyte family over the death of Karibi-Whyte.
A statement by his spokesperson, Parry Saroh Benson said, the senator received with sadness this news of the passing of one of Africa’s foremost international jurist and legal luminary, Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte.
He averred that the loss of this great and capable mind at a time of grave crisis in the world when his wisdom, wealth of experience and calm fatherly disposition would have been invaluable to our country was painful indeed.
He described the late legal icon as an accomplished lawyer, teacher, a man of character and proven integrity whose immense contribution to the development of the judiciary in Nigeria would never be forgotten.
“Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte meant different things to different people, to me, he was a father, a friend, and a counselor. I was mesmerized by his passion and commitment to justice.
“Although the final chapter in the life and times of this great jurist is now closed, there are many gifts and life-changing lessons that his life of service has bequeathed to humanity.
“We join his family and admirers across Nigeria to mourn the passing of a great man,” he said.
In his statement, Peterside, described the passage as a huge loss to the legal profession, Nigeria and Rivers State in particular.
He described the late Karibi-Whyte as one of the finest jurists of his generation, who brought tact, discipline, and sound judgments to the legal profession.
According to him, the late jurist represented one of the Rivers’ finest professionals that excelled at the very top of their careers and contributed immensely to the growth and development of Nigeria.
“Late Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte was a complete gentleman and an intellectual to the core, he was never found wanting throughout his time in the judiciary and represented one of the best of his generation.
“He brought confidence to the bar and bench, he spoke with authority and delivered sound judgments that have stood the test of time. He was a disciplined man, who ensured justice was fair and sound and, brought honour to legal jurisprudence.
“As a former Solicitor-General of Rivers state, he contributed immensely to the expansion of the judiciary, in addition to his offerings on laws made in the state,” he stated.
Also yesterday, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Adegboruwa paid to the fallen jurist.
He said: “In the death of Hon Justice Karibi-Whyte, Nigeria has lost a foremost jurist and a fearless adjudicator with a robust intellectual mind.
“He was full of wits, wisdom and judicial stamina to tackle most cases that he participated in, either in writing the leading judgment, supporting judgment or dissenting judgment.
“He rendered very profound explanations behind the reasonings contained in his judgments, all of which have helped to shape the course of judicial history in Nigeria.”
Adegboruwa said Justice Karibi-Whyte deployed his knowledge and experience garnered from private legal practice, up to the Bench as a judge of the then Revenue Court, now known as the Federal High Court, up to the Supreme Court, in the practical application of the determination of cases brought before him.
“His book on the practice and procedure of the Federal High Court is always a delight for judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students alike”, he added.