Rivers State was created on 27 May, 1967 out of the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria under the military dictatorship of General Yakubu Gowon through Decree No. 19 of 1967.
During the colonial period of Nigeria, the area was administered as the Oil Rivers Protectorate, due to its central role in the palm oil trades of the last two centuries.
The State is located at the south-south part of Nigeria. Its total land area of about 11,077km2is bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by Imo, Abia, and Anambra States, to the east by Akwa Ibom State and to the west by Bayelsa and Dela States.
The population of Rivers State according to the National Population Commission of Nigeria is 5,198,716- Male: 2,673,026; Female: 2,525,690. Given the abundant cultivable land in the upland area of the State and adequate rainfall, the potential for crop production is high.it is also an enclave of many creeks, swamps, deltas and Rivers. The result is that an overwhelming majority of the people of the States are involved in two primary activities: farming and fishing. The major crops produced include yam, cassava, rice, beans, maize, rice and cocoyam.
Rivers State is also the heart of the hydro-carbon industry, responsible for a huge chunk of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. It is accountable for over 48% of crude oil produced on-shore in the country and 100% of the liquefied natural gas that Nigeria is currently exporting to several countries of the world. It is also the site of two of Nigeria’s functional refineries as well as a petrochemical plant. The strategic importance of River State in the economic equation of Nigeria earned it the name “Treasure Base of the Nation”.
Currently, the State owes its legal existence to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a State, it is constitutionally mandated to establish:
- an Executive arm of government headed by an elected Governor;
- a legislative arm of government which members shall be drawn from constituencies defined in the Constitution. Its activities are presided over by a Speaker elected by the members of the State House of Assembly which oversees the exercise of the State’s legislative energies;
- a judicial arm made up of judges, magistrates and other officers that help in the administration of justice and related activities within the State. The judicial arm is headed by the State’s Chief Justice. Nonetheless, judicial pronouncement of the State’s tribunals are subject to the appellate review of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in that order;
- maintain of the Local Government level of governance. Presently, the Nigerian Constitution prescribes23 local Local Government Areas for the State; and
- mobilize the powers of the State, the institutions and resources of its arms and levels of government in order to secure a socio-economic environment for persons resident in the State and its other stakeholders to pursue legitimate goals in dignity under the State’s justice administration umbrella
The Rivers State legal system comprises;
- The compendium of Constitutional provisions applicable to the State as one of the 36 States that constitute the Nigerian Federation;
- Laws made by the Federal Legislature applicable throughout the entire federation or specifically to Rivers State;
- Laws made (or deemed to have been made), by the State’s legislature;
- Laws made by Local Government Councils in the State;
- Customary laws or other customs of the market place applicable under the operation of Law;
- Judicial precedents of the courts of the State and of appellate courts with jurisdictions over its tribunals like the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria;
- Judicial precedents of federation tribunals like the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Investments and Securities Tribunal and so on to the extent to which their mandates allow.
- Law enforcement institutions, law enforcement officers, judges, legal practitioners, judiciary workers, other professionals and persons recognized at various levels as part of the justice administration complex of the State.
Sources of Rivers State Legal System include:
- The Constitution of Nigeria (including its amendments and other laws it refers to expressly as having the same character as provisions contained within the formal Constitutional document;
- Laws of the Federation of Nigeria;
- Legislations of the National Assembly applicable to Rivers State;
- Legislations of the State House of Assembly;
- Recognized customs of the people of Rivers State;
- Judicial precedents of courts with judicial authority over RIvers State;
- Local Government edicts.
PLATEAU STATE BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS
LEGAL SYSTEMS OF THE FEDERATING UNITS OF NIGERIA – 37 STATES/FCT