Says panel not for witch hunt
Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
THE Rivers State Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to investigate the killings and other violent acts that occurred during the December 10, 2016 rerun supplementary election in the state has begun sitting.
The panel which resumed yesterday at the Rivers State Judiciary Complex in Port Harcourt entertained three witnesses and petitions upon resumption.
Speaking during the first sitting, the Chairman of Commission, Justice Chinwendu Nwogu, stated that the commission would not be partial in its deliberation.
Nwogu noted that the panel was a fact finding body, adding that it would not witch hunt anybody and that it would give every party the opportunity of fair hearing.
He promised to adhere to the terms of reference of the commission which included, to investigate the remote and immediate cause of the violence, identify the perpetrators, identify the victims and find out if property was damaged.
Other of its reference was to determine if the violence was localized to specific areas within the state or was state-wide, to make appropriate recommendations concerning the findings and to submit it’s report to the state government within one month from the day of sitting.
Nwogu said: “Permit me to say at this juncture that the commission is a fact finding body and not a regular court of law. The target of the Commission is not to witch hunt anybody or group of persons but its activities and findings will be based strictly on the contents of the Memoranda submitted to the Commission and the oral evidence presented before it.
“All known principle of fair hearing, equity and good conscience will be employed by the commission in course of its public sittings and adequate reasonable equal opportunity will be given to all persons who appear before it to state their case as well as tender all relevant documents thereto that will assist the commission in its findings and recommendation.
“The commission being a fact finding body will not follow strict rules of evidence but shall employ and adopt all known procedures that will ensure fairness of all parties concerned.”
The chairman, however, urged all the parties that will appear before the commission for maximum cooperation in order for the purpose of creating the commission to be duly achieved.
Meanwhile, the three witnesses cross examined by the commission, Mr. Chinyere Igwe, Lekuu Mgba and Frank, in their statement of witness accused the Nigerian Army, Mr. Bari Mpigi and Nnala William of been behind the violence that broke out in Tai Local Government Area of the state which claimed the life of one Mr. Donwi Nte.