Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The lawmaker representing Brass Constituency 1 in Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon Israel Sunny-Goli has dragged Bayelsa State governor and the Commission of Inquiry probing violence during the 2019 elections to court seeking an order to declare its activities illegal, null and void.
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had set up the Justice Ineikade Eradiri-led Commission of Inquiry to probe the violence that rocked the state during the presidential and National Assembly elections in various parts of the state.
The commission which had begun sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, listened to chilling testimonies of various victims of the electoral violence prompting it to invite Sunny- Goli, former Governor Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heinkein Lokpobiri, Sam Kodjo whose names featured prominently in the testimonies of victims.
Although all the invitees had shunned the invitation, describing the Commission of Inquiry as “kangaroo,” Sunny-Goli who is also the House of Representatives member-elect for Nembe/Brass Constituency had approached the court to seek some reliefs.
In the suit no FHC/PHC/CS/69/2019 at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Sunny-Goli through his counsel, Stephen Topba is seeking among other declarations that 8th defendant (Governor of Bayelsa State) “is not competent to constitute a commission of inquiry into any matter which falls outside the legislative competence of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.”
The lawmaker who also sought a declaration for the commission of inquiry as an “illegal body that cannot validly invite or summon the plaintiff to appear before it,” further prayed that “the proceedings, hearings, meetings, deliberations, reports, resolutions, recommendations or any action already taken or to be taken by the Ist defendant (The Bayelsa State Commission of Inquiry) are illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”
He is, therefore, seeking an order “setting aside the invitation and or summons” extended to him and order of perpetual injunction restraining the commission of inquiry from continuing with proceedings and submitting a report.
Tobpa in a covering letter attached to the court process served on the Justice Eradiri-led commission of inquiry said Sunny-Goli is interested in getting justice
“In the view of the above, we respectfully request you to stay action on the proceedings of the commission pending the determination of the above suit. We believe firmly that the precious time of the commission and the interest of justice will be better served if the said suit is dispensed with as to the appropriateness or otherwise of the continued existence of the commission before further steps are taken on the assignment before the commission”
However, the secretary of the commission, Dr Richard Ogbe, said the commission was not in receipt of any court processes from the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.