Amaechi urges Kalabaris to fight for Soku oil wells
The Rivers State Government has warned that it will take disciplinary action against any judiciary officer in the state that recognises or works with Justice Daisy Okocha as the administrative or chief judge of the state.
The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wogu Boms, said the warning had become necessary because of rumours making the rounds that Okocha had been appointed the administrative judge of the state by the National Judicial Commission (NJC).
Boms spoke Monday shortly after a meeting of the state Judicial Service Commission at the state High Court complex in Port Harcourt.
While dismissing the rumour, Boms said both the NJC and the Rivers State Judiciary were incapable of making such appointment and urged the general public to disregard such rumours, and equally warned those peddling the rumour to desist forthwith, or be ready to face the wrath of the law.
According to him, “The Rivers State Judicial Service Commission is a body established by the constitution, which is equivalent to the National Judicial Service Commission (NJC) at the national level, while the NJC takes care of federal judges, the state judiciary takes care of state judges and staff of the judiciary.
“We are not aware of such development that Hon. Justice Daisy Okocha has been appointed the administrative judge in the state. And our attention has not been drawn to such development, either by the chief registrar who is like the secretary of the judiciary or anybody at the NJC level.
“It remains a rumour. However, the state JSC’s attention has been drawn to a publication by the Rivers State Government that they are aware of such a possible development by the National Judicial Service Commission (NJC).
“This is because NJC met last week, and it may be possible that they are working on such issues, but right now, there is no official report or communication to that effect by the NJC to anybody on that matter.
“The NJC does not have the powers to make such appointment in Rivers State for the judiciary, whether they call it chief judge or acting chief judge or administrative judge, however described. It is illegal and the NJC is practically incapable of making such appointment.”
He maintained that it is only the governor of the state, Chibuike Amaechi, that is constitutionally recognised to appoint a judge or chief judge, and not any other body or commission as widely speculated.
“The only authority recognised by the constitution to appoint a judge or a chief judge is the governor of the state and not any other body or commission, and such body will be acting illegally if it does so, and cannot do so, if they are led by anybody to do so,” Boms stated.
The commissioner further stated that pursuant to the issues at stake, the Rivers State JSC, at its meeting, passed a resolution directing the chief registrar to inform all members of staff of the judiciary that disciplinary measures, including dismissal await any of them that deals with any judge as chief judge or acting chief judge or administrative judge not duly appointed by the governor of Rivers State.
“That is the decision of the JSC and we shall carry it out to the letter. They are staff of the Rivers State Judicial Service Commission and not of the NJC. There is no law authorising anybody to act illegally,” he warned.
In another development, the state governor urged the people of Kalabari Kingdom to rise up and defend their rights to the ownership of the disputed Soku oil wells.
Amaechi spoke at the weekend while congratulating the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel, on the occasion marking his installation at Abonnema, headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
Amaechi appealed to the Kalabari people to stand their ground in the spirit of justice and fair play.
He said: “We want to see the young men stand up for their rights. Will they take your oil wells and you say they should take it? If you say they should take it, you are not a Kalabari man. Whether it is PDP or APC, if you say they should take your oil wells then you are not a Kalabari man.
“I agree that your children are in the other party. I usually tell people if the other party wins, those oil wells are gone for good.
“They will never come back to Rivers State and the reason why they won’t come back is you can never have a governor like me twice. You can never have a governor who will look at the president and say to him these oil wells belong to Kalabari people, I will not sign.”
On next year’s governorship election, he reiterated that he would not support an Ikwerre candidate.
“The next thing I want to tell you, I am an Ikwerre man, whether Ikwerre have the population or not, Ikwerres should bid farewell to the governorship till some others have gotten it.
“Where the governor will come from, I don’t know, I’m not God. But I will fight any Ikwerre candidate that comes out. That one you can take from me. What you can’t take from me today is I don’t know where the governor will come from,” he said.
Earlier, four-time former minister, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, had saluted Amaechi’s courage and sincerity in seeking protection for the disputed Soku oil wells in Kalabari land, saying it was time for all Kalabri sons and daughters to rally round the governor to reclaim the disputed oil wells.
Graham-Douglas said: “Let me at this juncture state unequivocally that Governor Amaechi’s resolve to protect the Kalabari oil field is well-intentioned and genuine.
“Any contrary notion being peddled should be discarded. We should be most grateful to him for standing firm to ensure that the Kalabari Kingdom is not balkanised through the ill-motivated and ill-conceived boundary adjustment.
“Not only will the design reduce our local government area, Akulga, to just Abonnema and Obonoma, it will leave desolate, the inhabitants of Kula, Abise, Idama, Soku and Elesagama.
“It is now time for all our people to prepare for whatever contribution and support that may be needed to that Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s struggle to protect our territory is successful. His struggle is that our oil wells remain ours.”
Amaechi urges Kalabaris to fight for Soku oil wells