Published By:Abalijay


In 1996 some bright minds of the Bench started the judiciary business of Bayelsa state. The laid the judicial foundation from nothing and they diligently built an enviable judiciary in Nigeria. They remain the best Judges, the Nigeria state has ever had.

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On the 1st of October, 1996, Bayelsa state was created by the late General Sani Abacha (then Head of State of Nigeria). To that vein, a judicial arm of the new state must be established to foster the judiciary business like any other arm of government. Some quintessential Judges of old Rivers state kick-started the Bayelsa Judiciary from nothing. Only six (6) High Court Judges that transferred their services from old Rivers state. Hon. Justice K.D. Ungbuku was appointed the Chief Judge, while L.M. Boufini (now Hon. Justice L.M. Boufini) was the Chief Registrar.

The High Court Judges whose services were transferred from Old Rivers State Judiciary to the Bayelsa State Judiciary and their hierarchy were:

  1. Hon. Justice K.D. Ungbuku
  2. Hon. Justice F.F. Tabai
  3. Hon. Justice K.S. Sagbe
  4. Hon. Justice F.K.C. Peters-Amian
  5. Hon. Justice S.S. Alagoa
  6. Hon. Justice E.J. Igoniwari


David Koripamo Ungbuku

David Koripamo Ungbuku (1938-2008) hails from Sabageria town in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government of Bayelsa State. He was an inspirational pupil teacher who walked on foot in the late 1960s and later became a diligent attorney. He graduated at the University of Lagos in 1970 and called to Bar in 1971.

In 1976, he was crowned the paramount ruler of Sabageria community (Pere I of Sabageria) but resigned as he repented and followed Jesus Christ in 1982. He featured politics in 1979, he was appointed Chairman old Rivers state Civil Service Commission.

Subsequently, he was made Judge in 1983 by the late Justice Donald Graham-Douglas. Thereafter, in 1992, he miraculously became the Chief Judge of old Rivers State. Justice Koripamo Ungbuku retired as Chief Judge of Bayelsa State in 2003. He died in Yenagoa in 2008 at the age of 70. Get full Biography of late Justice David Koripamo Ungbuku…


Justice Francis Tabi

Hon Justice Francis F. Tabai was not from Bayelsa state par say. Born at Torugbene in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State on 25th July, 1942. He started his primary education at the then Native Authority School Torugbene. Thereafter, he attended St Thomas Teacher Training College Ibusa and obtained the Teachers Grade II Certificate in 1961.

From January 1962 to August 1966, he was a teacher in several towns and villages in the Western Ijaw Division.

His Lordship attended the University of Lagos, where he obtained his L.L.B Hons Degree in 1969, afterwards, he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and was called to Bar on the 26th of June, 1970.

After his call to Bar, he was engaged in private law practice at the firm of Dr Mudiaga Odje & Co. at Warri. On the 1st July, 1973, he was appointed a Magistrate Grade I at the Rivers State Judiciary.

From July 1973 to December 1980, he rose through the ranks to Chief Magistrate. From July 1980 to July 1985 he was Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.

On the 22nd July, 1985, Hon Justice Francis F. Tabai was appointed a Judge of the High Court of old Rivers State. At the creation of Bayelsa State on 1st October, 1996, he became a Judge of the High Court of Bayelsa State. In December 1998, his lordship was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal and was posted first to the Benin Division, and then to the Ibadan Division in 1999, where he stayed until 2006.

His Lordship was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in March 2006, where he remained until July 2012, when he retired after attaining the statutory age of 70 years.

He is currently a First Class ruler in Delta State, having been installed and recognized as the EBENANAOWEI (PERE) OF Tuomo Kingdom.

He was appointed a member of the National Judicial Council on 1st January, 2019.


Kesiye St. Sagbe

Kesiye St. Sagbe was born at the sprawling coastal community called Okpoama in 1926. He was an embodiment of humility, humane disposition, legal luminary, sport enthusiast, devout Christian all rolled into one became a King himself in 1978. In 1983, he was appointed Permanent Secretary and Solicitor-General Old Rivers State and subsequently a Judge of the Rivers State High Court in 1985. His deeds were towering in the Judicial arm of Nigeria; he was upright, erudite and a hard working judge.

He transferred his service to Bayelsa state as pioneer judge in 1996 and retired untarnished in 2004. He lived a fulfilled life, and was a man at peace with himself. HRM Hon. Justice Kesiye St. Sagbe, Okpo XX died in 2007 at the age of 81. See his full biography…


Hon Justice (Chief) Festus Karekpre Christopher Peters-Amain was born on 23rd May, 1942 into the family of Elder Christopher Waribo Peter Ebifate Amain and Madam Dorcas Emmah in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. He had his primary education at the famous St. Luke’s school Nembe in 1948 and passed his standard Six in 1955. it was narrated, he was a good footballer and champion in local wrestling.

At his young age, he served as the General Secretary of the Great Amain, Kein, Alagoa, and Koki group of houses. He sat for the GCE O/Level Examination in 1964 and sat for the Advanced Level in 1966 and passed elegantly.

At his young age, he served as the General Secretary of the Great Amain, Kein, Alagoa, and Koki group of houses. He sat for the GCE O/Level Examination in 1964 and sat for the Advanced Level in 1966 and passed elegantly.

In 1966 thereabout, he gained employment with the Federal Ministry of Finance and was later employed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. In 1969, he gained admission into the University of Lagos to pursue a degree at the faculty of Law. He obtained his LLB (Hons) in June, 1974 and was called to the Nigeria bar in June, 1977.

He rose to the position of a Manger with the Central Bank of Nigeria and voluntarily retired in 1978 and he moved into the legal profession.

In 1979, he was called to contest for a seat in Rivers State House of Assembly. He contested under the platform of the Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) are minority party and won the Brass Constituency I seat in the old Rvers state house of assembly. Therefore, he was made the minority Chief Whip for Four years (1979-1983).

Consequently, he left politics in 1983 when the military took over government and returned to his private legal practise. He was appointed as a Judge of the High court of old Rivers state sometime in August, 1989. As a Judge of the court he served in Port Harcourt, Isiokpo, Eleme/Okrika and Ahoada divisions.

On 26 November, 1996, he transferred to the Judicial service of Bayelsa state following state creation. Hon Justice (Chief) Festus Karekpre Christopher Peters-Amain was also appointed acting Chief Judge of Bayelsa state in October, 2001. In the same year, he was also appointed the Arbitration Panel Judge in Bayelsa state.

He voluntarily retired from active service as a Judge in 2003 due to some unfounded allegations. In addition, he was a respected Chief from Nembe kingdom, as he was appointed a Chief in the Amain, Kein, Alagoa, and Koki group of houses in May, 1978. Hon Justice (Chief) Festus Karekpre Christopher Peters-Amain died in 2006 at age of 64. His final burial rites were performed on the 30th of April 2006.


 justice shenko alagoa

Honourable Justice Shenko Alagoa, JSC OFR hails from Ogbolamabiri Nembe in Bayelsa Region and was born on the 4th October, 1943 to the family of Pa Wilberforce Edward Alagoa and Mrs Elizabeth Ebun Alagoa. Stanley shenko graduated LL.B. (Hons) from the University of Benin in 1973, and was called to the Benin Bar in October 1974.

Consequently, he began his career in Public Service as a Pupil Region Counsel in the ministry of Justice, Port Harcourt in the old Rivers Region, in July 1975. Prior to that, he had done his National Youth Service in Ilorin, Kwara state Littoral Region. Nevertheless, he rose rapidly in the Ministry of Justice where by 1978 he had become a Senior Region Counsel.

Thereafter, he undertook a course in Legislative Drafting organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat under the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation in Accra Ghana, from April to December, 1978.

And on his return from Accra, Ghana, he was posted to the old Rivers Region House of Assembly as its first Parliamentary Counsel. Thereafter, he practiced Law privately in Port Harcourt for eleven (11) years before he was appointed a High Court Judge in 1990. On the creation of Bayelsa Region in 1996, he transferred his services to that Region.

He was elevated to the Court of Appeal Bench in June, 2003 and served in the Alfa Kouara, Benin and Ndaki Division before being posted to the Natitingue Division as Presiding Justice from where he was elevated to the Supreme Court Bench in July 2012, and Justice Alloma Mariam-Mukhtar sworn him on the 26th September, 2012. In addition, he is a recipient of the ecclesiastical honour of Knight of the Order of St. Christopher KSC, and the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic OFR. He is a member of the body of Benchers and is married with children.


emmanuel joel igoniwari

He was a foremost jurist from Ogbia kingdom. He was initially a pioneer typist staff with the Niger Delta Development Board. By dint of hard work, he studied and got his A/Level papers with Grade one in 1972. He studied Law at the University of Lagos in 1976 and called to Bar in 1977.

Also, he bagged his LLM in 1986 at the Amadu Bello University, Zaria. Subsequently, he became a Judge of the High court of the old Rivers state in 1991. Thereafter, he was made the Chief Judge of Bayelsa state after the retirement of late Justice David Koripamo Ungbuku the pioneer Chief Judge of Bayelsa state. He was appointed paramount ruler of Ogbia Kingdom but never crowned before he passed on.

In bridging the infrastructure deficit in the judiciary, he started massive infrastructure development for the judiciary of Bayelsa state like the construction of judiciary staff quarters for junior cadres, High/Magistrate Courts at remote locations of the state etc.

Unfortunately, Chief Justices Emmanuel Joel Igoniwari died on the bench in 4th May, 2007. After his demise, Hon. Justice Kate Abiri reigned his stead as Chief Judge from 2008 to 2023 retired meritoriously.

Chief Justice Emmanuel Joel Igoniwari was an Anglican and a polygamist with Nine (9) biological children. He died at the age of Sixty-three (63). See his full biography…

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"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future. Through the stories of great minds featured on the blog, readers are invited to delve into the lives and achievements of extraordinary individuals, drawing inspiration and insights that can be applied to their own lives. "Timeless Persons" strives to create an engaging and thought-provoking space for readers to appreciate the legacies and contributions of notable individuals, ultimately encouraging personal growth and a brighter outlook on life.