The Nigerian judiciary requires sufficient support from the government to fight against corruption, according to President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He made this call during the inauguration of the Rivers State Magistrates Court Complex in Port Harcourt. The newly constructed court complex was named after Justice Iche Ndu.
Tinubu commended Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike for his foresight and love for providing judges and magistrates with the best working and living conditions.
“You don’t expect your judges to live in squalor, to operate in squalor, to dispense justice in squalor,” Tinubu declared. “If you want fair dispensation of justice, you don’t want them to operate in hazardous conditions. Let’s think value for value.”
Tinubu assured Nigerians that his administration, when sworn in, would fight corruption in the judiciary by reviewing the welfare and conditions of service of judges and magistrates. He also urged Nigerians to cultivate the virtue of maintaining public assets.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike lamented the decision of the Council of Legal Education to ignore the Dr Nabo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt.
During the same event, he wondered why the campus was allowed to suffer a lack of regular provision of electricity and water supply when the Rivers State government had already donated commercial property and a N400M take-off grant to ensure maintenance of the campus.
“We said okay, let the federal government be paying your salaries, take this money to keep and maintain the school. I was told the other day that there was no light, there was no water. I can’t understand our system,” Wike said.
He attributed such an attitude to the poor maintenance culture that has pervaded every facet of public life in Nigeria, wherein nobody cares enough to maintain public property. He advised the Rivers State Chief Judge not to allow the newly constructed Magistrates Court Complex to suffer the same fate.
“As I am leaving office, in this one year, when I come here, I don’t want to see and hear that it is dilapidated or it has deteriorated; it will be unfair,” Wike said.
Governor Wike assured that financial provisions would be made, which should cater to the maintenance needs of the complex for at least the first year. “So each month, you’ll get N20M to maintain this place. So, we will give you one year (money) in advance so that you’ll keep this place well,” he added.
The newly constructed Rivers State Magistrates Court Complex has 24 courtrooms in the five two-storey buildings, while the single-story building has a clinic, restaurant, and court registry plus a separate generator house.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, described the project as an uncommon landmark achievement of Governor Wike. According to him, the governor has solved the perennial and overbearing burden of the lack of space that magistrates suffered.
The Attorney General of Rivers State and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, said the project, which started on 23rd December 2021, was delivered in less than 15 months.
According to him, this demonstrates the passion and standard of projects associated with Governor Wike.
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