By Precious Akutamadu
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday commended Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers for his support to the legal education in the country.
President Buhari made the commendation during the inauguration of the Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt.
President Buhari, represented by Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, described the new law school 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 Gov. Wike to the promotion of law and development in Rivers State and beyond.
“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,” he said.
President Buhari said he was aware that Gov. 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.
“These are indeed pace-setting and unparalleled contributions by a state government to what is ordinarily under the remit of the Federal Government.
“Wike’s dedication to these projects is better appreciated from the viewpoint of his being an unrelenting advocate of true federalism in Nigeria,” he said.
He commended the good heart and statesmanship of Wike, on behalf of the entire justice family and lovers of justice in Nigeria, for his unifying efforts and commitment to 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 Gov.Wike with the Nigerian Excellence Award in Public Service.”
The award was conferred in October for Wike’s unprecedented leadership role in the delivery of legacy infrasctructure projects in Rivers State and beyond.
” Your Excellency, you have indeed immortalised yourself and history will be kind to you,” he said.
President Buhari reiterated that the ceremony served as an avenue 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 Nigerians.
In his speech, Gov. Wike said he was delighted to have delivered the facility within 10 months after getting the approval to build the law campus in the state.
Wike 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.
Wike revealed that one of the reasons his administration had been able to embark on several projects was because President Buhari had graciously approved the payment and release of unpaid 13 per cent 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 no where else.
The governor said it would be unfair for the Rivers Government to have spent so much on providing the campus and not have an admission quota exclusive to the state.
Furthermore, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, said that Wike was a true leader who had shown excellence in governance and deliberately invested in the legal profession that would serve the course of justice to the people.
On his part, Prof Issa Hayatu Ciroma, the Director General of Nigerian Law School, commended Gov. Wike for keeping to his promise of building a self-sustaining brand new campus for the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt.
He assured that legal education activities would now commence at the campus fully, now a model to use by any person or government when establishing law campuses in the county.
Dr. George-Kelley Alabo, Rivers Commissioner for Works, said the site was 21 metres high after sand-filling of the land.
He said 15 buildings had been built, which included a 700 capacity cafeteria, a moot court, and a 1,638 capacity three-storey classroom block.
There are five hostels to house more than 1000 students, library; 1,500 capacity auditorium and standby power plant. (NAN)