Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, yesterday, said the late immediate past Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri, was his prayer partner, who always joined him to pray for progress of the state.
Justice Abiri died on August 3, aged 65 years.
Diri, when he paid a condolence visit to the family at her residence in Yenagoa, described the deceased as a sister and devout Christian.
He noted that she had the opportunity to illegally amass wealth but chose integrity over corruption as the state’s topmost judicial officer for many years.
Diri in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, said if it were possible, the state would have ensured that she lived longer to lend her wealth of experience to governance as she was the only living past chief judge in the state.
He said: “These are very tough times for us as a state and the families of Abiri and Waritimi. As a state, we have lost a legal icon, a jurist of national repute, an incorruptible judge.
“I came to condole with the family but I also need to be condoled with because she was my friend, sister and prayer partner.
“There is no day as a chief judge that after finishing the official bit, we would hold hands to pray. She always led the prayer that God should grant me wisdom to lead the state. I will not have that anymore with her, both in and after office.
“The Waritimi family was like a part of my family until I was sworn in by my sister, who was the longest serving chief judge. She also swore in three other governors in Bayelsa and one in Rivers State.
“Her demise is a loss to Aleibiri and Adagbabiri communities in Ekeremor and Sagbama LGAs and indeed to Bayelsa as well as Nigeria.
“As a Chief Judge, if she wanted to be corrupt, the N250 million by Bayelsa government and the N200 million by Rivers for the launch of her books would not mean anything to her. But she chose the path of righteousness. Christendom lost a practising Christian.”