Fire guts home of Rivers State top judge

Fire guts home of Rivers State top judge

Sunday, September 21, 2014 11:35 pm

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Fire has gutted the official residence of the Most Senior judge of the Rivers State judiciary,Justice Daisy Okocha.

The house on Herbert Macaulay Street,in the old GRA, Port Harcourt was burnt Friday.

Eyewitnesses said the fire started at the master’s bedroom of the judge around 10pm on Friday night.

According to eyewitnesses the timely intervention of neighbours coupled with the arrival of officials of the Rivers State Fire Service stopped the fire from spreading to other part of the building.

Burnt part of  Justice Daisy Okocha's home

Burnt part of Justice Daisy Okocha’s home

Officials of the fire service who spoke at the scene of the incident said it is suspected that the fire which completely razed the master’s bedroom of the judge may have been caused by an electrical fault.

Before the inferno was put out property worth millions of naira and vital documents of Justice Daisy Okocha were destroyed.

Meanwhile, a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association and Senior Advocate of Nigeria,SAN, Onueze CJ OKOCHA who also the immediate younger brother to Justice Daisy Okocha,has described the fire outbreak as an unfortunate incident.

Onoueze Okocha who spoke to journalists on behalf of the Judge after inspecting the level of damage done by the fire said that no court document was destroyed in the inferno.

OCJ OKOCHA also called for an investigation to ascertain the real cause of the fire outbreak.

He also called on the Rivers State Judiciary to immediately provide an alternative accommodation for Justice.
He expressed happiness that no life was lost.

Spokesman of the Civil Liberties Organization in Rivers State, Mr Livingstone Weche, said sabotage should not be ruled out.

“The new Commissioner of Police in the state Mr Bature should take what happened as a challenge to his professionalism and get to the root cause of fire.If it is arson, perpetrators should be brought to book”, he said.

Justice Okocha,has been locked in a battle of succession with her Ikwerre kinsman,Justice Peter Agumagu,the President of Customary Court of Appeal, over who is more qualified to assume the position of the Chief Judge of Rivers State.

At the retirement of Justice Iche Ndu as the Chief Judge of State the National Judicial Commission, NJC, appointed Justice Daisy Okocha as the administrative head being the Most Senior Judge. But the state Government preferred Justice Peter Agumagu, the President of Customary Court of Appeal.

This led to indefinite strike of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSON leading to the closure all courts in the state for over nine months.


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