… Panel of inquiry adjourns again for 6th time
From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
NIGERIAN Army yesterday demanded speedy hearing at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Kaduna State Government to investigate December 2015, Zaria clash between the Army and members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), the Shi’ites.
The panel had on Monday, adjourned its sitting till Wednesday to allow counsel to the movement to have access to its leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.
However, at its resumed sitting yesterday, one of the counsel to the commission, Yusuf Ali (SAN ) informed that the legal team of the commission had gotten access to IMN leader.
Ali said Sheik Zakzaky had indicated interest to present his own side of the story before the commission, adding that it was based on access to the IMN leader that there was need to adjourn the sitting again.
But expressing worry over the frequent adjournments, one of the counsel to the Nigerian Army, Mr. Biola Oyebanji opposed the application for adjournment, saying that his clients deserved speedy hearing having waited for so long for IMN to present its own side of the story without doing so.
Mr. Ali argued that IMN is a corporate body, while Zakzaky is an individual, and as such the IMN could go on with its memorandum without necessarily accessing Zakzaky.
He further argued that Nigerian Army needed to be heard at yesterday’s sitting, even if the hearing would not end immediately, adding that, “what happens if same circumstance presents itself at next sitting”?.
However, the Chairman of the commission, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Garba assured that every adjournment was based on any circumstance that presents itself.
In adjourning the sitting to April 6, 2016, Justice Garba said the commission carefully considered Yusuf Ali’s submission that IMN leader had been accessed and that the IMN leader was ready to present his own side of the story.
“The commission is inclined to grant an opportunity to him to be heard because the reason for previous adjournments was lack of access to the IMN leader.
“We, therefore, adjourn the sitting till April 6, 2016 because we don’t want to work with one sided facts, we need comprehensive facts from all sides. We need hard facts, not garnished facts.”
Meanwhile, counsel to the Shi’ite group were not present at yesterday’s sitting and no memorandum was submitted, because they had at the weekend announced their withdrawal from the commission at a press conference.