Delta engendering worst apartheid in judiciary against Ijaw – Oweilaemi, IYC President

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By Loveth Ojogun

The IYC President, worldwide, Mr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi has accused the Delta state government of sidelining the Ijaw nation in the Delta state judiciary.

Oweilaemi made this known in a press release, June 13 2019, of which the GbaramatuVoice was in possession. He fingered that judiciary in the state was laced with “nepotism and sectionalism.” He said that the state was multi-ethnic and the Ijaw nation was the second largest ethnic nation.

According to the report, “The judiciary in Delta State is being hit with nepotism and sectionalism. The composition of the Bench in the State does not reflect the time tested federal character principles. Appointments into the judiciary are lopsided, skewed to favour some parts of the State.

“Delta State as a multi-ethnic State is a microcosm of the Nigerian federation, thus the composition of government of the State ought to conform with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). 

“In the State judiciary, the Ijaw ethnic group which is the second largest ethnic nation is being sidelined with the judicial appointments. From the high court down to the magistrate court as well as the customary and revenue courts, hardly one Ijaw man is being appointed either as a judge, magistrate or chairman of customary courts.”

Highlighting the number of serving Judges, Oweilaemi  added, “Presently, the State has a total number of thirty (30) serving Judges out which only two are Ijaw persons. The breakdown of judges based on ethnic compositions are as follow: (1) In the high court: Urhobo =13 to 14 judges; Aniocha/Oshimili (Anioma) = 4 to 5 judges;  Ika = 3 judges; Ndokwa= 2 judges; Itsekiri = 3 judges; Isoko = 2 judges, and Ijaw= 2 judges. (2) In the Customary Court of Appeal: Urhobo = Nil; Ijaw.  = Nil; Itsekiri = 1; Isoko = 1; Anioma =2. (3) In the Revenue Court which has 21 Judges in total, Ijaw has only 1; Urhobo =10; Isoko =  2; Itsekiri = 2; Anioma=9. In the Magistrate Court which has a total number of 104 Magistrates, Ijaw has only 4.

“While the above abnormalities are inflicting pains on our mind, the worst apartheid regime in the judiciary is being engendered. We regret to let the world know that the Government of Delta State did not feel the presence of Ijaw people in the State. A cursory look at the ongoing appointments of High Court judges in the State will prove us right.

“In the provisional list being circulated in the media, no Ijaw person made the list. Out of 12 persons shortlisted from the Delta South Senatorial District no Ijaw person is considered. IYC did not see this discriminatory and segregative policy of the State Government as a coincidence. We see it as a deliberate move to sideline Ijaw people in the State.

“Governor Okowa should revisit the appointments forthwith. The ongoing appointments of judges should conform to the plurality of ethnic groups in the State. We reject the so-called provisional list in its entirety. Sidelining Ijaw people in the distribution of government programmes will not serve the best interest of the government. Our areas produce the bulk of wealth for the State. Why should we be treated below the belt?