Karibi-Whyte, For­mer Chair­man, 1994/95 Con­sti­tu­tional Con­fer­ence Dies at 88

THISDAY - - FRONT PAGE - Ben­nett Oghifo in La­gos and Ernest Chinwo in Port Har­court

The eru­dite Jus­tice Adol­phus G. Karibi-Whyte, who was the Chair­man of the 1994/95 Nige­rian Con­sti­tu­tional Con­fer­ence died last night at the age of 88 in Port Har­court, Rivers State.

The schol­arly re­tired Jus­tice of the Supreme Court of Nige­ria died at about 6.30 PM in Port Har­court from heart-re­lated com­pli­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to Gogo Karibi­Whyte, his el­dest son and

La­gos based lawyer, who spoke with THISDAY on the pass­ing last night. He was from Abon­nema, in Akuku­toru Lo­cal Govern­ment Area of Rivers State.

The late Jus­tice was sur­vived by his wife, Faith Karibi­Whyte and seven chil­dren:

Asikiya Karibi-Whyte, Tonye Edosan­wan, Gogo Karibi­Whyte, Abiye Karibi-Whyte, Tokini Karibi-Whyte, Sodigi Karibi-Whyte, and Nengi Brai.

A What­sapp mes­sage sent to THISDAY last night said, “The great Jus­tice Adol­phus G. Karibi-Whyte, JSC, one of the most Eru­dite and schol­arly Jus­tices of the Supreme Court of Nige­ria has passed on. He went to be with the Lord to­day, May 22nd 2020. He was 88 years old. As we pray for the re­pose of his Soul, let us also re­mem­ber his chil­dren: Asikiya, Tonye, Gogo, Abiye,

Tokini, Sodigi, and Nengi as they mourn the loss of their great and il­lus­tri­ous fa­ther. May his Soul Rest in Peace, Amen.

“God has been kind to our fa­ther. He served the na­tion

mer­i­to­ri­ously and God blessed him. He lived a mem­o­rable life,” Gogo said.

Karibi-Whyte was a le­gal icon, author and Pro­fes­sor of Law, whose pro­fes­sional ca­reer took him through the Nige­rian and in­ter­na­tional ju­di­cial sys­tems.

He was born on 29th Jan­uary 1932, at­tended Kal­abari Na­tional Col­lege Buguma, Rivers State, 1946-1950 and worked as a clerk of court from 1951-1957.

Karibi-Whyte was ad­mit­ted to the Univer­sity of Hull, Eng­land in 1957 where he ob­tained LL.B De­gree, Up­per Di­vi­sion in 1960. He was called to the Bar in the Mid­dle Tem­ple a year af­ter­wards, and in Septem­ber, 1962, ob­tained LL.M De­gree of the Univer­sity of Lon­don, and also Ph.D of Univer­sity of La­gos in 1970.

In 1973, he was ap­pointed Le­gal Drafts­man in the Rivers State Min­istry of Jus­tice, af­ter which this le­gal lu­mi­nary at­tained the ranks of Solic­i­torGen­eral, in that Min­istry and be­came an As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor of Law at the Univer­sity of La­gos.

In 1976, he was ap­pointed a Judge of the Fed­eral Rev­enue Court and thus be­gan an il­lus­tri­ous ju­di­cial ca­reer, which took him through the Court of Ap­peal from 1980, and the Supreme Court of Nige­ria from 1984, thus mak­ing him the sec­ond Nige­rian af­ter Dr. T.O. Elias, to move di­rectly from academia to the ju­di­ciary.

Dur­ing this time, he also served as Chair­man of sev­eral Com­mis­sions of In­quiry in­clud­ing the Coun­ter­feit Tri­bunal and the In­quiry into the Nige­rian Agri­cul­tural and Co-op­er­a­tive Bank. He was also ap­pointed as Judge, In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal on Novem­ber 7, 1993, and Chair­man Nige­rian Con­sti­tu­tional Con­fer­ence be­tween 1994/95.

His ad-hoc ap­point­ments in­clude: Chair­man, Coun­ter­feit Cur­rency Tri­bunal, Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced Le­gal Stud­ies, Com­mit­tee of ProChan­cel­lors of State-Owned Uni­ver­si­ties, Law Re­port Com­mit­tee of the Fed­eral High Court, Civil Dis­tur­bances Tri­bunal, Com­mit­tee for the Uni­fi­ca­tion & Re­form of the Crim­i­nal Code, Pe­nal Code, Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act & Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Code,

Nige­rian Con­sti­tu­tional Con­fer­ence of 1994-1995.

Karibi-Whyte was also Judge and Vice-Pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yu­goslavia, sit­ting at The Hague.

He is an author of thir­teen books and 55 aca­demic pub­li­ca­tions in lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional learned jour­nals, and is very much in de­mand for speak­ing en­gage­ments in his field.

A re­cent ci­ta­tion on the web­page of Hall­marks of Labour Foun­da­tion, noted: “Sev­eral years af­ter, His Lord­ship’s ju­di­cial pro­nounce­ments on the bench con­tinue to res­onate in Nige­ria and be­yond.

Ac­cord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Paul Idornigie of the Nige­rian

In­sti­tute of Ad­vanced Le­gal Stud­ies, “Jus­tice Karibi-Whyte’s dis­sent­ing opin­ions in ob­vi­ous op­po­si­tion to the de­ci­sion of the ma­jor­ity jus­tices are not only leg­endary and sem­i­nal but un­par­al­leled in Nige­ria.

“In fact, his dis­sent­ing opin­ions have be­come il­lu­mi­nat­ing ju­di­cial guides for the Supreme Court in sub­se­quent sim­i­lar cases and the ba­sis of leg­isla­tive in­ter­ven­tions, no­tably – Sa­van­nah Bank of Nige­ria Lim­ited v Pan At­lantic Ship­ping & Trans­port Agen­cies Lim­ited (1987), Govern­ment of Gon­gola State v Tukur (1989), At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion v At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Abia State (2001) [The Re­source Con­trol Suit], Grace Jack v Univer­sity of

Agri­cul­ture, Makurdi (2004) and Patkun In­dus­tries Ltd v Niger Shoes Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany Lim­ited (1988).”

Karibi-Whyte was de­scribed by those who crossed his path as “a quin­tes­sen­tial ju­rist, a scholar par ex­cel­lence, an in­tel­lec­tual colos­sus and con­sum­mate ju­di­cial of­fi­cer, he is a man driven by his pas­sion for jus­tice ac­cord­ing to law, firmly un­der­girded by his res­o­lute and re­puted in­tegrity.”

A gen­tle­man of in­dis­putably stel­lar ac­com­plish­ments, Hon Jus­tice Karibi-Whyte is a Com­man­der of the Or­der of the Niger (CON) (1998), and also Com­man­der of the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic (CFR) (2008). He was mar­ried to Mrs. Faith Asareme Karibi-Whyte.

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