Some lawyers in Lagos on Saturday paid glowing tribute to late Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, who died on Friday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late Justice Karibi-Whyte was aged 88.
Reacting, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa,SAN, said:”Nigeria has lost a foremost jurist and a fearless adjudicator with a robust intellectual mind.
“He was full of wits, wisdom and judicial stamina to tackle most cases that he participated in, either in writing the leading judgment, supporting judgment or dissenting judgment.
“He rendered very profound explanations behind the reasonings contained in his judgments, all of which have helped to shape the course of judicial history in Nigeria.
“He deployed his knowledge and experience garnered from private legal practice, up to the Bench as a judge of the then Revenue Court, now known as the Federal High Court, up to the Supreme Court, in the practical application of the determination of cases brought before him.
“His book on the practice and procedure of the Federal High Court is always a delight for judges, lawyers, law teachers and law students alike.
“I, hereby extend my heartfelt condolences to the Nigeria Bar, to the Governor and good people of Rivers State, to the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President on the demise of this erudite jurist.
Also speaking, a former Chairman of the Ikorodu Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Adedotun Adetunji described the death of Justir Karibi-Whyte as a huge loss to the legal community.
He said the late jurist was an epitome of knowledge and a Professor of Law whose judgement could only be described as sound and classic.
“His Lordship was a fine jurist with penetrating and lucid reasoning in his judgements.
“Significantly, His Lordship was courageous to dissent with majority views while he was in the Supreme Court,” he said
He said that the demise of the legal icon leaves yet another legacy to be emulated by younger jurist.
Adetunji commiserated with the family of the deceased as well as the entire Nigerian legal community and prayed for a peaceful repose soul of the late Justice.
Another human rights activist, Mr Spurgeon Ataene in his reaction described the late jurist as a dogged fighter for the course of Justice.
He said:”I condole with the family of this legal Colossus Late Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte who retired from the supreme Court upon attaining the mandatory 70 years stipulated for retirement of Justices at that level
“He was such an enigma in every sense; one that should be emulated in hardwork and judicial activism.
“To have started out as a court clerk- the lowest in the court system and steadily acquired requisite education to become a lawyer, got his Masters degree from London and a PhD from University of Lagos.
“He was prepared for the journey to the bench, and was one with wide knowledge from the West and native intelligence from home in Nigeria.
“No wonder his gargantuan exploits on the bench cannot be easily matched.
“I commiserate with his entire family members, the legal community, and the country at large for Nigeria has indeed lost an almost irreplaceable brain,” he said
In the same vein, another lawyer, Mr Anthony Makolo described the late Judge as “the people’s jurist”
“When the news of his demise filtered the air, it simply reawakened in him, the consciousness that every man will be remembered for the legacy he leaves behind.
“I must extend my heartfelt sympathies to the NBA, the nation’s Judiciary, as well as the Rivers State Government for this great loss,” he said
NAN reports that Justice Karibi-Whyte hails from Abonnema, in Rivers State.
He was appointed as a Judge of the Federal Revenue Court in 1976, where he began his illustrious judicial career.
Thereafter, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1980, and later to the apex Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1984 from where he later retired after a meritorious judicial service.
Some of his notable celebrated judgments include Government of Gongola State v Tukur (1989), Attorney General of the Federation v Attorney General of Abia State , amongst others. (NAN)