Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Thursday explained why his administration built apartments for judges in the state.
The project which started on July 17, 2017, with the foundation laying performed by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen was commissioned today.
Speaking during the commissioning in Port Harcourt, Wike noted that the exercise was in fulfilment of the promise made in 2015.
He explained that the policy of the state government covers judges who are indigenes of the state, adding that it was to make life meaningful for jurists.
According to him, most judges who were unable to build their own houses before retirement were evicted from their residences.
The governor is however hopeful that the apartments will prevent corruption in the nation’s judiciary.
“Giving the constitutional restriction on legal practice, post-service life could be miserable for judges who were unable to buy or build their own homes before leaving the service.
“This challenge or circumstance has embedded the potential for encouraging corruption among judges with the attendance of negative circumstances on impartial justice delivery.
“With the new policy, however, the state now bears the full responsibility of providing all judicial officers of Rivers State origin beyond their service years for life.
“The policy is implemented in either of two ways – Judges have a choice to receive a purpose-built house in the state government or opt for cash payments to build or buy their houses for themselves.
“Furthermore, the policy applies to all judicial staff of Rivers State origin including those serving in any of the Federal Judicial Divisions that is the High Court or the Federal Capital Territory,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad thanked the governor for the initiative, asking other state governments to follow suit.
Speaking through a justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili, the CJN the nation’s judiciary deserves more than it is currently getting..
“The time to change the unpalatable narrative has come. The judiciary deserves more than it is currently getting,” he said.