President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has described the Dr. Nabo Graham- Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, built, furnished and handed over by the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s administration as a grand wonder structured to be self-sustaining.
The president noted that the project, among several others, is no doubt an abiding testament to the commitment of Governor Wike to the promotion of law and development in Rivers State and beyond.
President Buhari spoke while inaugurating the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, Port Harcourt on Friday. He was represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
“I need not engage in poetic verbosity to properly describe the grand wonder that is being commissioned today. The icing on the cake is the fact that this edifice and its state-of-the-art facilities are structured to be self-sustaining through associated revenue earners, as designed by a man of higher vision who is now fondly referred to as Mr Project.”
President Buhari said he was aware that Governor Wike extended development initiatives to the neighbouring Bayelsa State, by executing multi-billion-naira projects that included a 900-bed space hostel and 1,500-capacity auditorium, in the Yenagoa Campus of the Nigerian Law School.
This, he noted, is in addition to the provision of critical infrastructure support extended to federal courts in Rivers State, over the years.
“These are indeed pace-setting and unparalleled contributions by a state government to what is ordinarily under the remit of the Federal Government.
“Governor Wike’s dedication to these projects is better appreciated from the viewpoint of his being an unrelenting advocate of true federalism in Nigeria.”
President Buhari said the resultant effects of the governor’s sterling efforts have continued to strengthen the rule of law and national development.
The Nigerian president commended the good heart and statesmanship of Governor Wike, on behalf of the entire justice family and lovers of justice in Nigeria for his unifying efforts and commitment to national harmony.
“Governor Nyesom Wike has executed numerous landmark infrastructural projects which have transformed the human and economic development of Rivers State, while also forging socio-political alliances and promoting national harmony.
“Indeed, our dear nation needs more of such unifying efforts. It is in recognition of the foregoing that my administration discarded political considerations and acknowledged excellence, by conferring Governor Wike with the Nigerian Excellence Award in Public Service, in October 2022, for his unprecedented leadership role in the delivery of legacy infrastructural projects in Rivers State and beyond. Your Excellency, you have indeed immortalized yourself and history will be kind to you.”
President Buhari reiterated that the ceremony served as an avenue for them to be reminded of the need to promote cooperation and understanding between the Federal and State Governments in the overall national interest and the welfare of all Nigerians.
In his speech, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that sequel to his request for approval to build a law campus in Port Harcourt and subsequent approval given, he is today most delighted to have delivered the facility, completed within 10 months.
He stated that the contract for the project was awarded to indigenous contractors, who handled each of the structures under strict supervision, costing the state government about N17 billion.
Governor Wike revealed that one of the reasons why his administration has been able to embark on several projects is because President Buhari had graciously approved the payment and release of unpaid 13 percent derivation deductions since 1999 to all states in the Niger Delta.
The governor insisted that the financial support given by the Rivers State government to the Nigerian Law School should be expended on the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus and nowhere else.
The governor said it will be unfair for the Rivers State government to have spent so much on providing the campus and not have an admission quota exclusive to the state.
In his good will message, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, said Governor Wike is a true leader who has shown excellence in governance and deliberately invested in the legal profession that will serve the course of justice to the people.
Speaking for the Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun noted that there is no legal professional who has contributed as much as Governor Wike has done to the promotion of legal practice in Nigeria.
In his speech, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who described the day as epochal for the legal profession, decried the inability of the National Assembly and other stakeholders to enact a new Legal Practitioners’ Act that should make the legal practice of international standard in the country.