It is not in doubt that before May 29, 2015, the Rivers State Judiciary was in total shambles. The courts were closed; in fact, callously locked and sealed on the orders of the former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi against the public, litigants, lawyers and other vendors who derive their daily living from the courts.
The illegal and unconscionable closure of the court inflicted serious and irreparable damages on the society as citizens were wickedly held in detentions under painful and excruciating conditions. Commercial transactions could not proceed because of intractable disputes that could not be resolved due to absence of courts; lawyers were callously denied their means of income, thus debasing and humiliating them. Some even suffered break-ups in their marriages due to the financial strain and stress, other vendors and courts like food sellers, book sellers, and business centers could not earn a living. The overall impact of closure of the courts for close to one year was profound, incalculable and had serious negative effect on all strata of the society.
Litigants and disputants resorted to violent self help in resolving disputes. Others chose to visit shrines deities and other unorthodox places where they were extorted and subjected to harrowing experiences in the guise of resolving their cases. This included trial by ordeal and swearing to satanic oaths, pledges and entering into clearly demonic agreements and covenants. The overall future effects of all of these remain to be seen.
The legal system that is supposed to be hallowed, honored and respected rather became a laughing stock of all sorts, as the court and all it stood for was mocked, ridiculed at, and public confidence waned. All of these were deliberately orchestrated by the infamous, misguided and obviously satanic leadership of evidently the worst Governor River State has had, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Thankfully, on May 29, 2015, following the swearing in and formal inauguration of Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, as the Executive Governor of Rivers State, all that changed. The gloom, hopelessness and dark clouds that hung on the judiciary gave way to hope and restored public confidence. Governor Wike, in a dynamic and obviously compassionate style of governance appointed a new Acting Chief Judge, and President of the customary court of Rivers State – Justice D. W. Okocha, and Justice Christy Nwankwo respectively – and formally gave the judiciary the latitude, independence and audacity it needed to operate.
Today, the courts are back on full stream. Rights of citizens are being attended to promptly. There is a new lease of life in the Judiciary brought about by the dynamic, focused and visionary leadership of Chief barr. Nyesom Wike who has enthroned the culture of due process, respect for rule of law constitutionalism and independence of the judiciary.
The signs are apparent that, with the air now pervading in the judiciary made possible by Chief Wike, the sky is the limit for the Rivers State judiciary.
TEAM NEW RIVERS
The New Rivers State has a team of prolific writers who will be introduced with time.