Jonathan, Amaechi, Abe, Dakuku Mourn Late Justice Karibi-Whyte


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, former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has expressed sadness over the passing on of Justice Adolphus G. Karibi-Whyte. The renowned jurist who was the Chairman of the 1994/95 Nigerian Constitutional Conference died Friday night at the age of 88 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The former President described him as an eminent jurist and bright scholar who contributed so much to the progress of Nigeria’s jurisprudence.

In a condolence message to the Karibi-Whyte family and the Government and people of Rivers State, Jonathan said: “Justice Karibi-Whyte stood out as an accomplished scholar and consummate jurist who commanded a vast and nuanced knowledge and understanding of the principles of law.

He stood unmistakably on the side of equity and fairness and he will be remembered for his landmark pronouncements on the bench and their implications for the growth of our justice system.

“He was also a distinguished and prolific academic whose broad-based works will continue to illuminate the path of scholarship across generations.

On behalf of my family, I pray for God to comfort members of his family and grant his soul eternal repose.

Also 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, former representative of the Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, 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 Justice Karibi-Whyte and comfort for his wife and entire family.

Also, former representative of the Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus, 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 is 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 can 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 own statement, immediate past Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku 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 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.