Wike: We’ve Fulfilled Promise to Judiciary
Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday said his administration has fulfilled its campaign promises by diligent support to the judiciary to discharge its constitutional mandate.
This is as the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Simeon Amadi, explained that the state judiciary generated over N1.2 billion in the current legal year.
Wike said all the promises his administration made to the people concerning the judiciary have been fulfilled with impressive achievements beyond the imaginations of many.
He made the assertion yesterday in his remarks at the 2022/23 Legal Year opening ceremony held at the state judiciary complex in Port Harcourt.
The governor noted that as the third arm of the government, the judiciary plays a critical role in advancing the rule of law, justice and good governance. But on assumption of office in 2015, his administration met a judiciary in Rivers State that was at a crossroads.
According to Wike, “The state High Court had no Chief Judge, leadership or direction for nearly two years. The governor then attempted to impose a Chief Judge on the state outside the due process. When this devious attempt was resisted, he instigated a phantom crisis and closed down the states courts until he left office.
“We knew that the ensuing social and economic anarchy would ruin Rivers State without functional courts to uphold and defend the rule of law. Beyond the crisis, we also inherited a judiciary neglected to the hilt, dilapidated and inadequate courthouses and unpaid salary arrears.
“Our first task was to revive the judiciary and ensure the speedy administration of justice. Without wasting time, we appointed the first female Chief Judge for the state, reopened the courts and restored judicial services from our first day in office.”
He explained that his administration began rehabilitating the existing courthouses and built new ones for the state High Court, adding that within the first year in office, provided a new Special Utility Vehicle (SUVs) to judges as official cars, which have since been replaced since 2019.
Wike said prior to his administration, Judges in the state were faced with the challenge of lack of a retirement home, saying the government considered it morally wrong for the state to evict Judges from their official quarters and force them to rented apartments after they retired from service.
To further strengthen the judicial system, the governor said his administration is presently constructing a new ultra-modern magistrates’ court complex to relocate all the magistrates’ courts from the premises of the state High Court complex.
He said the state government has also
completed the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, to complement the National Judicial Institute to provide relevant training and capacity building for Rivers State Judges and magistrates to enhance their competence for effective service delivery.
The governor maintained that his administration has also been releasing the capital and recurrent budget of the Judiciary from 2015 to date, adding that three weeks ago, the state government released over 80 percent of the 2022 judiciary’s capital votes to the state Chief Judge.
Wike expressed confident that his successor would sustain a more robust relationship with the judiciary in the state.
In his speech, Justice Amadi commended Wike for his immense support for the judiciary in the state.
Justice Amadi urged lawyers in the state to avail themselves of the benefits of the multi-door court established to ensure greater access to mediated disputes settlements, especially for the business and investment community.