Yenagoa—Bayelsa State Government has expressed sadness over the sudden demise of the retired Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri.
Governor Douye Diri, in a condolence message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said Bayelsa lost a quintessential legal luminary, who rendered forthright, unblemished and meritorious service to the state and country.
Senator Diri said the late Chief Judge epitomised the finest form of judicial integrity and that her passing was a sad chapter for not only her family but also the Bayelsa judiciary, the legal profession and indeed the state and country.
“Justice Abiri was one of our finest jurists; a legal icon and pride of our state.
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by her loss coming just two days after having breakfast with her in my residence.”
While commiserating with her family and the state judiciary, he described Justice Abiri as a courageous Judge who dispensed justice with fairness and the fear of God.
According to the governor, it is painful for the state to lose Abiri just after retirement when her wealth of experience was still needed, particularly in the judiciary and in service of the state.
“On behalf of the executive arm of government, I extend our deepest condolences to her families, her successor, Justice Matilda Ayemieye and the state judiciary.
“We lost a jurist who displayed exemplary character and attracted dignity to the Bench.
“Abiri was soft-spoken and humble but also a personality that carried the full weight of the law, with a balanced approach to justice,” he said.
The immediate past Bayelsa Chief Judge died on Thursday, August 3 at the age of 65.
Abiri holds the record of being the longest-serving Chief Judge in the state between 2008 and 2023.
She also swore in four state governors during this period – three in Bayelsa and one in Rivers. They are Chief Timipre Sylva (2008), Senator Seriake Dickson (2012 and 2016), Senator Douye Diri (2020) and Nyesom Wike (2015).
She was succeeded by Justice Matilda Ayemieye in January this year.