The new Chief Judge of Rivers State, Hon. Justice Simeon Amadi has called for the speedy amendment of the state Anti-Cultism Law, saying that the law has done more harm than good to the people of the state.
The Chief Judge noted that the number of inmates in Port Harcourt Correction Center is not because Rivers State has the highest criminals but that the magistrate courts (which are courts situated in every local government area) is not given the judicial power to adjudicate on criminal cases, except the High Court (which is not situated in every local government area) to adjudicate.
Justice Amadi stated this when members of the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary ably led by Hon. Barr. Sokolo Solomon Kirifah paid him a working-visit at the Port Harcourt High court.
He appealed to the committee and urged them to facilitate the amendment of the state Anti-Cultism Law to give jurisdiction to magistrate courts, as to enable the courts handle cultism related issues.
“I was embarrassed as I was told that in the entire West African sub-regions that Port Harcourt has the highest inmates; it portrays the state that we have the highest number of criminals: when you go into the case file, IT IS NOT SO”, he said.
The CJ explained that “the slightest thing a girl or boy does, it is presented to the police and sent to the magistrate courts, since the magistrate courts don’t have jurisdiction it remains like that.”
Speaking, the House Committee Chairman, Sokolo Solomon Kirifah pointed out that the visit became necessary as to create cordial relationship between the state legislature and the judiciary. He also attested to the courage of the Chief Judge in opening up new frontiers when it comes to justice delivery.
“I use to appear before the Chief Judge as a legal practitioner, so I can confess, as to his courage to opening-up new frontiers when it comes to justice delivery.”
Kirifah while speaking to journalists said with the amendment of the Anti-Cultism Law, the magistrate courts will now be able to dispense justice on cases especially cult related cases.