Opposition lawmakers shun Rivers’ commission, seek disband of tribunal


Five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, popularly regarded as anti- Rotimi Amaechi lawmakers, yesterday shunned the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Rivers State government to look into the recent fracas in the hallowed chambers of the state House of Assembly, even as they had sought a court order to bar the commission from sitting.

Representing the five lawmakers, Hon Victor Ihunwo, (Port Harcourt Constituency III) yesterday, approached a Port Harcourt High Court to among other things stop the commission from going ahead with its activities, as he argued that members of the commission were appointed by Governor Amaechi, who he said is also a party in the crisis to be investigated by the commission.

Ihunwo argued that: “His Excellency, Rotimi Amaechi, the 10th Respondent and his government represented by the 11th Respondent instigated the crisis and supervised the execution of the said crisis which he now purports to inquiry into by the instrumentality of a Commission of Inquiry selected, appointed and inaugurated by him, that is, the so called judicial commission of inquiry comprised of the 1st set of Respondents.

“The 1st set of Respondents as the Judicial Commission of Inquiry instituted by the 10th Respondents lacks jurisdiction to inquire into the terms of reference subject matter of the commission.

“The 10th Respondent cannot be a judge in his own cause, wherein he can choose the members of the commission who are to inquire into the same crisis which he did not only precipitate but participated actively in.
“The membership of the Commission as constituted is against the rule of natural justice.” He prayed the court for “an order of injunction restraining the 2nd set of Respondents from receiving any report from the 1st set of Respondents, or in any manner whatsoever implementing or putting into use any report, findings or opinion tendered by or submitted by the 1st set of Respondents in their capacity as a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or under any guise whatsoever.”
He also prayed for “such further or other orders as this honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.”
Justice Iyayi Lamikanra, who is set to hear the case has slated Friday, August 16, for ruling on the matter. 

However, the chairman of the commission, Justice Biobele Georgewill, had adjourned sitting of the commission till Thursday, after counsel to the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Barr. Ken Atsuwete and the counsel who represented the other 25 lawmakers pleaded for 24 hours’ extension to enable them put their documents in order.
Granting the requests, Justice Georgewill called on all parties in the crisis to be free to file their memos, stressing that the Commission was merely on a factfinding mission, adding: ”No kobo needs to be paid to file your memo. Just do it with the Secretary of the Commission.
Even if you don’t have a lawyer, the Commission has a lawyer for you. This Commission is for everybody affected by the crisis and anybody who has one thing or the other to tell us. It is a fact finding Commission. We are not here to imprison anybody. We are out to get to the root of the matter.”



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