Panels on electoral violence, court invasion begin sitting in Rivers


By Memoye Oghu, Port Harcourt

The judicial commission of inquiry set up by Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike to investigate the killings and violence that surrounded the February 23 and March 9, 2019 general elections in the state had its inaugural sitting on Tuesday.

Chairman of the commission, Justice Monima Danagogo, delivering his inaugural speech in Port Harcourt, said the commission was set up not to witch-hunt anyone, but to determine the immediate and remote causes of the violence and killings that occurred in the state during the elections.

Danagogo, who chaired the four-member panel, stated that the commission was constituted by the governor of Rivers state on March 28 in pursuance to Section 2 (1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law, 1999.

The chairman said the commission was also set up to identify victims of the violence, including those that were killed during the said elections and to identify the motives.

He said that “as you may be aware, we are a fact-finding body; we are not here to witch-hunt anybody, group or institution. We are also not sitting as a court of law, therefore, we are not bound by the strict rules of law of evidence, but we are duty bound to fully observe and follow all known principles of natural justice. Our activities shall be based and guarded by the memoranda submitted to us.”

In a related development, the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the state government to ascertain the immediate and remote causes as well as motives behind the invasion and attack of the state judiciary complex on May 11, 2018 has also commenced sitting in the state capital.

Speaking, the Chairman of the commission, Justice Simeon Amadi, stated that the commission was mandated by the state governor to ascertain the perpetrators and the masterminds of the attack on the judiciary complex and to ensure that such does not re-occur in the future.

Amadi maintained that the commission was not set up to witch-hunt anyone or group, but to work with what was presented to them by the public, adding that its findings and recommendations will be submitted to the governor within 30 days in other to engender a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for the judiciary in the future.

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