The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has received with sadness the news of the death of the former Chief Judge of Bayelsa State, Hon. Justice Kate Abiri (rtd).
His lordship served as the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State between 2008 and 2023. Hon. Justice Abiri shared a good relationship with the Bar, as the NBA was instrumental in her confirmation as the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State. His lordship was well loved and admired and she diligently served the cause of justice.
His lordship’s passing few months after her retirement is an indication of the failure of the government on the issue of welfare of judicial officers. The NBA therefore calls on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the issue of the welfare of Judges and Justices. The spate of deaths of judicial officers while in service and retirement, and the living conditions for many both in service and retirement is pitiable to say the least. A situation where many cannot access basic health care is totally unacceptable.
The NBA finds it concerning to the administration of justice, that judicial officers, after serving the nation for most part of their lives are allowed to die or retire to a life of distress. This apparent neglect of judicial officers opens the door for all manner of temptations and it is hurting the nation; it is a direct attack on the dispensation of Justice, which is the foundation for the existence of any nation and the necessary atmosphere that will engender economic growth and development. The NBA is optimistic that the President Tinubu-led administration will speedily implement the proposal/recommendations made by the NJC/NBA for the upward review of the salaries and allowances of Judges and Justices, as an interim measure, to cushion the effect of our concrete economic realities.
The NBA commiserates with the Government of Bayelsa State, particularly the Bayelsa State Judiciary, the good people of Bayelsa State, friends and family of Hon. Justice Abiri, including his son-in-law, Michael J. Numa, SAN and prays that the Almighty God comforts his lordship’s family and friends.
Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary