Category: Judicial Reforms

Gov Diri Swear-in four new High Court Judges in Bayelsa State

The Judges took the oath of office on Thursday inside the Executive Chambers of Government House, Yenagoa, based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

They include a former Registrar of the state High Court, James  Lookie, a Law lecturer at the Niger Delta University, Dr. Simon Amaduobogha, and legal practitioners, Mrs. Christine Enegesi and Mrs. Patience Zuofa-Diri.

Governor Diri congratulated the new judicial officers on their appointment and elevation, urging them to serve the people with unfailing honour and commitment.

He commended the NJC, the state Judicial Service Commission, the state Chief Judge and the Chief Justice of Nigeria for facilitating the process and endorsement of their nomination from the state.

He said they were found suitable for the exalted office after meeting  some strict protocol.

The governor noted that his administration prioritises the judiciary in view of its significant role in society, stressing that it would not compromise the neutrality and independence of the judiciary as it is the last hope of the common man.

He also stated that all facilities and obligations required for the appointment of additional judges for the state’s high court have been provided and that the state looks forward to appointment of more judges in the new year.

Recalling the embarrassing invasion of the Abuja residence of Supreme Court’s Justice Mary Odili, the governor called on the relevant authorities to expedite action in order to bring those culpable to justice.

“Those responsible in that oppobrium must appropriately and expeditiously be punished for their transgression.

“These are strongholds of justice, protectors of liberty, symbol of law and order, custodians of the rule of law and embodiments of the hopes and dreams of our people. And if they can be treated with such impunity, then we are all much poorer for it.

“It is germane to restate that separation of powers should not in any way suggest division. In the end, we have a shared obligation to serve the people of Bayelsa State. We are one government united by one common purpose to deliver the hopes and dreams of the people of the state.”

Daniel Alabrah
Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor 
December 31, 2021

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Gov Diri Grants Amnesty To Nine Correctional Centre Inmates

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has granted amnesty to nine inmates at the Nigeria Correctional Centre, Okaka in Yenagoa.

Governor Diri made the pronouncement on Tuesday when he visited the centre.

Addressing the freed inmates, the governor advised them to change their ways and become responsible members of society.

He expressed displeasure over the number of inmates in custody, saying that the only way the centre can be decongested was through reduction in crime in the state.

He said it was his constitutional duty to grant amnesty to inmates based on recommendations from the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.

He said: “Whereas you have all made written applications seeking for this discretionary exercise by the government of Bayelsa State, I have also in consultation with the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy and in accordance with the laws of Bayelsa State and in exercise of my constitutional powers as the Governor of Bayelsa State, hereby grant you mercy.

“I do not believe we should have this centre congested with our brothers and sisters. In other words, the propensity for crime and criminality must be reduced. That is the only way we can decongest the Okaka Correctional Centre. If we grant amnesty and there is still the propensity to continue in crime, no amount of jail delivery can decongest this prison.

“My advice to you is that you change your ways. Change your approach to life and become responsible members of society and contribute to the good image of Bayelsa State.”

In her remarks, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Justice Kate Abiri, thanked the governor for the visit and expressed optimism that he would help decongest the centre.

She noted that the Chief Justice of the Federation was concerned about congested prisons in the country and in line with that she had embarked on jail delivery exercise.

According to her, as the Chief Judge, her power to release prisoners was limited to not too serious cases that have lingered, but that only the governor had the constitutional power to grant amnesty.

She also thanked Governor Diri for constituting the Committee on Prerogative of Mercy and for heeding the advice to carry out his constitutional duty.

The Chief Judge expressed delight that it was the first time under her tenure that a governor of the state was physically carrying out the exercise and appreciated Governor Diri for granting amnesty to inmates and for decongesting the prison.

Earlier, the Comptroller of the Okaka Correctional Center, Seth Edoughotu, commended the governor for rehabilitating the road leading to the centre and for donating an operational vehicle that has assisted them to perform optimally.

Daniel Alabrah
Chief Press Secretary to Bayelsa State Governor 
October 5, 2021

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CJ Hails Diri On Bayelsa Judiciary Autonomy

Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, has commended Governor Douye Diri for granting the state judiciary financial autonomy.

She said this has enabled it to function optimally.
Justice Abiri stated this on Wednesday in Yenagoa during the commissioning of a renovated court premises and an adapted Lady Justice statue.

The Chief Judge, who commended Governor Diri for prompt release of funds for the judiciary to enable it meet its financial obligations, noted that in her years of service, this was the first administration that had given the judicial arm of government the free hand to manage its resources.

She said: “The commissioning of the newly renovated court premises and the Lady Justice statue was made possible by the appreciable implementation of the financial autonomy in Bayelsa State by Governor Diri.
“In my many years as the head of the judiciary, this is the first time we have been given a free hand to fully manage our resources and build to our satisfaction.”

In his response, Governor Diri said he believes the judiciary should be given financial autonomy to enable it   function effectively.

According to him, as  a democrat, he believes the only way for democracy to thrive is to ensure checks and balances and the separation of powers of the arms of government. The governor also called for more collaboration among the various arms of government to work in synergy to achieve common goals.
He  commended the judiciary for making judicious use of the funds at its disposal, which led to the completion and commissioning of the project.

His words. “I believes in the doctrine of separation of powers and, of course, checks and balances. That is the only way our developing democracy can be fostered here in Nigeria.  So, I believe that the judiciary should have its autonomy to do what we are about to commission today; autonomy to manage its resources even though we all know that the arms of government are one and the same.

“For us as a state, we cannot afford at this time to be working at cross purposes, particularly the three arms of government. This is the time that we need each other. This is the time we need to function as one so that government as one body will be able to deliver the expectations of the people of Bayelsa State.”

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