PORT HARCOURT-GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has expressed delight that his administration has assisted the judiciary to fulfill its constitutional mandate
Wike said yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 2022/23 year in Port Harcourt that all the promises made by his government on the judiciary have been fulfilled through impressive achievements beyond the imagination of many
Upon taking office in 2015, the governor noted, “The state Supreme Court had no chief justice, no leadership and no direction for almost two years. The Governor then attempted to impose a Chief Justice on the state outside of due process. When this underhanded attempt was rebuffed, he instigated a phantom crisis and shut down the state courts until he left office.
“We knew that the ensuing social and economic anarchy would ruin Rivers State without functioning courts to uphold and defend the rule of law. Apart from the crisis, we also inherited a totally neglected judiciary, dilapidated and inadequate court buildings and unpaid salary arrears.
“Our first task was to revive the judiciary and ensure the swift administration of justice. Without wasting time, we appointed the state’s first chief justice, reopened the courts, and got the judiciary up and running again from day one.”
He explained that his administration has begun the rehabilitation of the existing courthouses and the construction of new buildings for the state Supreme Court, and has provided the judges with a new special vehicle as an official car in their first year in office, which will be replaced since 2019.
Wike said that before his tenure, judges in the state faced the challenge of having no retirement housing. His administration believed it was morally wrong for the state to evict judges from their offices and force them into rental housing after they retired from service.
“We then enacted the Judicial Housing Act and took the responsibility of providing lifetime housing for judges in Rivers State, including those serving in federal judiciaries
“Since then, we’ve implemented this law by providing our judges with 4-bedroom semi-detached houses with all accessories, including security and regular power supply, at Chinwe Aguma Judicial Estate. Similarly, those who chose not to live in the settlement have been provided an equivalent amount of money to build or buy similar houses.”
To further strengthen the judicial system, the governor said his administration is currently building a new state-of-the-art magistrate complex to relocate all magistrate courts from the Supreme Court building.