Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has restated that the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute (JMOJI) in Port Harcourt was established to complement efforts of the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in the provision of regular training of judicial officers in the country.
Governor Wike harped on this contributive role on Tuesday at the inauguration of the Governing Board of the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governing Board has as its chairman, the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi with the president of Rivers State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Ihemnacho Wilfred Obuzor, and Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor as members.
Other members are; Justice Essor Teetito, Justice Frank Onyiri, Justice Florence Fiberesima, Justice Ericonda Amadi, Justice Dr Daketima Kio, Collins Ali, and Betty Sunny-Hart.
Governor Wike noted the importance of continuous training of judicial officers and support staff through workshops in performing their duties.
He said with the requisite officers and board members now commissioned, the Institute will begin to carry out its responsibilities and conduct not less than three training sessions yearly for Judicial officers.
“I think the Institute will start in earnest now. As I said, this is not usurping the functions of the National Judicial Institute.
“This is just to complement the efforts of the National Judicial Institute because I find out that yearly, you have about three to four judges that go for training or workshops in the Institute (NJI).
“But this will give you ample opportunity to go for workshops or training, three times a year, and also enable the magistrates to be trained.”
Governor Wike stated that in keeping with the establishing law, the Chief Judge of Rivers State has nominated members of the governing board for the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, which has been commissioned.
The governor, therefore stated that the Institute will have no reason to complain about lack of performance because everything that is required has been provided including the N500M grant that was promised when the institute was inaugurated.
“It is important now that you can kickstart and please, give the required support of the governing board to the Institute to be able to effectively discharge their responsibilities.
“At least, before the year runs out, you must have carried out not less than three workshops, it’s very important. And of course, there must be regular publications.”
Determined that staff positions within the Institute are not sectionalise, governor Wike insisted that no one Rivers tribe should dominate the staff strength of the Institute.
He acknowledged that already an Ogoni person has been appointed the Accountant General of the Institute, and stated that other positions should be distributed evenly among other tribes.
Governor Wike also informed the Chief Judge of Rivers State that his application seeking approval to employ 14 new magistrates has been approved.
The governor, however, instructed him to forward the demand for another level of staff, 350 persons as the required number of new staff in the judiciary, to the Rivers State Civil Service Commission for proper documentation, interview, and employment into the service.
In his response, on behalf of the board, Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for finding them fit and proper to become the pioneer board members of the Institute.
Justice Amadi said they understand the essence of establishing the Institute, which is to provide such training opportunities that will promote excellence among Judicial staff.
According to him, they will do their best in discharging that duty, while also addressing the controversy that the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute is set up to undermine or compete with the National Judicial Institute for people to appreciate its complementary role to the NJI.