BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT—JUSTICE Peter Agumagu, was, yesterday, sworn in as the new Chief Judge for Rivers State by the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
Performing the ceremony at Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Amaechi, who congratulated the new Chief Judge, charged him to discharge his duties and responsibilities in accordance with the law.
Amaechi said he was worried when there was any attempt to take over the constitutional powers of appointing a Chief Judge for the state from the governor, adding that the court judgment which restored his right was commendable.
He said: “My Lord, let me congratulate you on your appointment. The actual phrase would be at ‘at last,’ and to say that I was a bit worried with the way people in the judiciary fought over who would be the Chief Judge of the state.
“I was more than worried when there was an attempt to take away the power of the governor to appoint a Chief Judge and rest it somewhere else and I was wondering if there was no need to ask for the interpretation of the constitution.
“Today, we recognise and accept in totality, the judgment of the Federal High Court and we say to you, congratulations. Don’t forget that in every office in Nigeria, not even a bishop is appointed without a contest, so I hope that you see what happened as a mere contest and treat everybody equally and be fair and ensure that you remain as dedicated as you have always been.
“I will, on behalf of Rivers State, thank the Federal High Court for helping us out of this bondage. I will say to the Federal High Court that our brothers, who by privilege of their position in high office, should not abuse their office again.
“They should learn to treat such things on merit not based on cronyism and hope that this will settle, once and for all, the challenges and disagreements in the judiciary. I pray that political interference will not come in any more.”
The new Chief Judge, Justice Agumagu, said he will ensure an effective justice delivery system in the state.