TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate acts of brutality and violation of fundamental human rights perpetrated by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) in the State.
The commission, which members were selected from Nigerian Bar Association, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), youth, civil society, women and religious groups, is expected to submit its report 60 days from the date of its first sitting.
Governor Wike, at the inauguration ceremony at the Government House, Port Harcourt, explained that the commission was set up in exercise of powers conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the provisions of Section 2(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers State (Cap 30) Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
Present at inauguration ceremony were the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor; the Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Danagogo; Commissioner of Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, among others.
The governor charged the commission to ascertain whether any of the officers, men and operatives of the Police, particularly, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) involved in alleged acts of violence, torture, brutality, murder, violation of fundamental human rights or other atrocities in Rivers, was sponsored, counselled and procured by any person, group of persons, or officer of the State government by whatever designation.
He said the commission was expected to identify persons or group of persons, who counselled, procured and sponsored alleged acts of violence and violation of human rights of citizens committed by personnel of F-SARS in the State.
Governor Wike tasked the commission to identify the victims of the said alleged acts of atrocities committed by officers and men of F-SARS.
He tasked the commission to ascertain the motive, if any, of the officers and operatives of F-SARS, who committed or participated in the commission of the alleged acts of torture, murder, brutality and violation of rights that occurred in the state.
In addition, Governor Wike directed the commission to ascertain whether any of the victims of the alleged acts of violence by F-SARS was being held in detention or custody and the identity of such victim as well as place of detention.
The commission was enjoined to make appropriate recommendations to the government on measures and means of preventing the occurrence of such acts of violence and violation of rights perpetrated by operatives of F-SARS, and how they could be held accountable for such acts.
“Recommend appropriate sanctions, punishment or other penalties to be imposed on the perpetrators of the said acts of violence, torture, murder, and violation of fundamental rights and/or other atrocities that occurred in Rivers State”, said Wike.
Chairman of the commission, Justice Chukwunenye Uriri (rtd), lauded Governor Wike for the privilege to serve the State.
He assured the governor that the commission would discharge its duties with clear conscience and within the limits of the law.
Other mmbers of the Commission were: Mrs Florence Amiesimaka (FIDA); Tonye Ibisiki, (Nigerian Bar Association); Karl Chinedu Uchegbu( Civil Society); Chijioke Ihunwo (Youth Group); Rev. Richard Opara (Religious Group); Mrs Bella Ebeku ( Women Group); Dr. George Nwaeke (Secretary) and Somiete Inko-Tariah (Counsel to the Commission).