By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”Worried by the spate of discrimination against women occasioned by quaint and obnoxious laws, Rivers State government has begged customary court judges in the state to protect women against all the harmful laws still being practiced in rural communities.
Making the appeal at the inaugural sitting of the Customary Court of Appeal (CCA), Rumuogba, Obio/Akpor local government area yesterday, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said some practices were evil and told the members to be guided by their conscience while delivering justice.
Amaechi said the court stood out as a specialized one, and urged the judges to perform their functions with consideration to the diverse and unique cultures of the people of the state and interprete laws in ways not to harm society.
He assured them that the permanent structures for the CCA would be built at the new Greater Port Harcourt City.
, and promised to release to them all budgetary allocations appropriated for them.
Also speaking, the stateâ€™s Chief Judge, Justice Iche Ndu, said the Customary Court of Appeal had appellate and supervisory roles over customary court laws and praised Amaechi for his swift action in approving the establishment of the CCA after 21 years of being in limbo.
He described the court as complementing the work of the High Court in justice delivery, and enjoined the judges to live up to expectation by administering justice equitably.
President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Peter Agumagu, said there were 32 functional customary courts in the state headed by trained lawyers, with 830 cases pending in the courts and 282 appeal cases waiting to be heard.
Agumagu said with the establishment of the court, native laws and customs would be preserved as judgments would be documented for many generations.
He praised Governor Amaechi for making history in achieving the feat.