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Obituary: Justice Karibi-Whyte- How the jurist who chaired Nigeria’s Constitutional Conference is remembered by ex-President Jonathan and Gov. Okowa


SAT, MAY 23 2020-theG&BJournal- Justice Adolphus G. Karibi-Whyte, who has died at aged 88 Friday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was a renowned jurist who was the Chairman of the 1994/95 Nigerian Constitutional Conference. He hailed from Abonnema in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The former Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague, the Netherlands was an accomplished and incisive jurist who presided over some of the most contentious international criminal tribunals.

Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan remembers him as an eminent jurist and bright scholar who contributed so much to the progress of Nigeria’s jurisprudence.

In his condolence message to the Karibi-Whyte family and the Government and people of Rivers State, Jonathan said: “Justice Karibi-Whyte stood out as an accomplished scholar and consummate jurist who commanded a vast and nuanced knowledge and understanding of the principles of law.

He stood unmistakably on the side of equity and fairness and he will be remembered for his landmark pronouncements on the bench and their implications for the growth of our justice system.

“He was also a distinguished and prolific academic whose broad-based works will continue to illuminate the path of scholarship across generations.

The Delta State Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa described the late Justice as a quintessential jurist, scholar par excellence and intellectual colossus whose judicial pronouncements on the bench had continued to resonate in Nigeria and beyond.

According to the governor, the deceased was a well respected scholar and a man of stellar accomplishments who was driven by his passion for justice according to law, firmly resolute with unassailable and reputed integrity.

He said “the news of his death came to me as a shock and I send my heartfelt condolences to the family, the people of Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Abonnema community in particular as well as the government and people of Rivers on the passing of the renowned elder statesman and retired Justice of the Supreme Court.

“As a bastion of knowledge and inspiration, a man of great wisdom and insight, a leader of leaders, he contributed immensely to the development of our country’s jurisprudence in the several capacities he served.

“As a government, we acknowledge his role and efforts as Chairman of the Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 1994-1995.

“As a scholar, Justice Karibi-Whyte authored 13 books and over 55 academic publications in local and international learned journals, which till date remains an indelible contribution to the academic world.

“In acknowledgement of his outstanding accomplishments in life, he was honoured with the Hallmark of Labour award as well as two national honours.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn the exit of a great elder statesman, Honourable Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, whose fountain of knowledge has remained an inspiration to many.

“He will be sorely missed, especially for his dissenting opinions on judgements which had become illuminating judicial guides for the Supreme Court in subsequent similar cases and the basis of legislative intervention,” Okowa said.

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