From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration to investigate the killings and other violent acts that occurred during the December 10, 2016, legislative re-run elections, has commenced hearing of petitions submitted.
Wike inaugurated the Commission on December 22, last year, while exercising his powers pursuant to Section 2(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers State (Cap 30) Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999 and other powers enabling him in that behalf.
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Chinwendu Nwogu, in his inaugural speech, on Monday, stated that the commission was not aimed at witch-hunting anybody or group of persons.
Justice Nwogu maintained that the commission would employ and adopt known procedures that would ensure fairness to all parties.
“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.
“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 to all parties concerned”, he stated.
The Chairman further called for the support and cooperation of all parties that would appear before the Commission.
“We therefore solicit for maximum co-operation from all parties that will appear before the Commission in order that the purpose of creating the Commission will be achieved to the overall interest of the citizenry.”
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Commissioner for Urban development, Chinyere Igwe, testified at the maiden sitting of the Commission, but could not conclude due to a video which, according to him, needed to be tendered before the Commission.
However, two other witnesses cross-examined by the Commission, Lekuu Mgba and Frank David, in their separate statements of witness, accused the Nigerian Army, Bari Mpigi and Nnala William, of being behind the violence that erupted in Tai Local Government Area of the State, where one Donwi Nte was allegedly killed.