Wike gets rare commendation from CJN


* As he commissions justices quarters in Port Harcourt

* But Appeal Court President wants judges to reciprocate Wike’s gesture with fair    judgments

By Codratus Godson

Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has won rare commendations from the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, who said the governor has invested in the judiciary.

Muhammad said while commissioning the quarters built for court of appeal justices in the Port Harcourt jurisdiction that such investment would promote the rule of law and access to justice.

The CJN who was represented by Mary Odili, a justice of the Supreme Court who hails from Rivers State, 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.

Odili, who was first lady in Rivers State over 10 years ago, on behalf of the CJN, inspected an array of duplexes and bungalows. The residences comprise of six-bedroom duplex with boys quarters for the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal. There were also four six-bedroom duplexes at Forces Avenue, two six-bedroom duplexes at Akasa Street, one six-bedroom duplex at Elelenwo Street and one four-bedroom bungalow at Ejor Street for other judges. She also inspected 16 flats for staff of the Court of Appeal.

Odili said; “Other governors should emulate Gov Wike in order to enhance the performance of judges in the country for effective administration and dispensation of justice.”

Speaking, Gov Wike described the judiciary as an indispensable arm of government in the fight against corruption. He said the provision of accommodation for judicial officers is a deliberate attempt to enhance their productivity and also ensure that they benefited like those in the executive and legislative arms of government.

Wike said: “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 enjoys. So why will people think that the judiciary is cursed,” he noted.

Gov Wike  appealed to the President of the Court of Appeal to increase the number of judges in Rivers State to tally with the accommodation provided by the State Government for them.

Also speaking, the President, Court of Appeal, Monica Dongban-Mensem, said provision of the accommodation for the judicial officers would reduce the challenges that affect effective administration and dispensation of justice. She urged the justices to reciprocate Wike’s gesture by dispensing justice without favour.

In his welcome address, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the professor, Zaccheus Adangor, said the gesture  by Gov Wike was to ensure that Rivers people and those living and doing business in the State benefited from the services of the court.

In his goodwill message, the President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, commended the governor for his vision and foresight aimed at promoting administration of justice and rule of law.

Speaking on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Theo Osanakpo, said the action of the governor would provide opportunity for optimal performance by the judges of the Court of Appeal.

On his part, the chairman of the Port Harcourt branch of the NBA, Prince Nyekwere, said the inauguration of the residences and staff quarters is one of the governor’s numerous acts of benevolence to the judiciary in Rivers State.