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Absence of Police, Fulani community stalls panel hearing on Nimbo killing

The absence of former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu, Mr. Bala Kuryus, Nsukka Area Commander and the Fulani, on Monday, stalled the hearing of the Commission of Inquiry into the killing of people and destruction of property in Nimbo community.

At the resumed hearing, the Police counsel, Mr. James Idachaba, said that the officers could not honour their summons due to the change of guard in the Nigeria Police Force.

Idachaba said that all senior officers of the police were in Abuja, adding that Ekechukwu would have to get the permission of the Inspector General of Police to honour his summon.

He said that the police was not on trial before the Commission, adding that to say that they had something to hide was misleading.

“These officers are in-charge of the various commands in the country. We are not on trial before the Commission and to say we have something to hide is wrong,” Kuryus said.

The counsel to the Fulani community, Mr. Julius Aloh, said that he could not understand why his clients were absent, “because I have had difficulty reaching them.

“These are people who live in the bush. I have tried to get them on phone, but their lines are not going through, so I will be asking for an adjournment,” Aloh said.

However, the application for adjournment was opposed by the counsel to Nimbo community, Mr. Mathias Nwande, on the grounds that it was frivolous.

He said that the application for adjournment was unnecessary and should not be allowed to stand.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Chukwuma Eneh, said that the arguments by the counsels held no water as the witnesses were duly summoned.

Eneh said that the tribunal would discharge its duties in line with Section 36 of the Constitution, by giving fair hearing to all parties involved.

He told the Police counsel that there was no rule of law that stipulated that officers needed not answer to their summons when there was change in leadership in the Nigeria Police.

The Chairman said that the panel wanted the police officers to discharge the burdens placed on them by the testimonies of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Adani, Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of the state.

“The DPO said that the Commissioner of Police was briefed on the impending attack, while the members of the community said that the Police absconded and did not do their job to ward-off the attack,” he said.

To the counsel representing the Fulani community, Eneh said: “It is unfortunate that you have lost touch with your clients.

“You will not complain that the tribunal did not give you fair hearing, because you have been reluctant to come here,” he said.

He said that representatives of the Fulani community had been duly summoned to appear with their testimonies.

Eneh said that the tribunal would not tolerate any party taking it for a ride, but would be consistent in discharging its duties.

The hearing has been adjourned to July 13 and 18 for the testimonies of the Fulani community and police officers, respectively.

It would be recalled that suspected herdsmen on April 25 invaded Nimbo community killing 11 persons, while scores were injured.

Following the development, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State set up the Commission to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the incident.

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