The constitution of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry was contained in a special government announcement signed by the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mr Kenneth Kobani.
According to the announcement, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry has Justice Chinwendu Nwogu as Chairman, while other members include: Mrs Grace Akpughunum-Okwulehie, Prof O.V.C. Okene, Sir Anthony Uzoma Ozurumba, Rev Canon Hossanna Nnaewi, Alphonso Sibi Esq (Chief State Counsel, Secretary) and C. B. Ekeh Esq (Principal State Counsel, Legal Counsel).
The announcement read: “In exercise of the powers conferred upon him by Section 2 (1 ) of the Commissions of Inquiry Law of Rivers State (CAP 30) of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999 and all other powers enabling him in that behalf, the Governor of Rivers State; His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, hereby constitutes and appoints a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the killings and other violent acts/matters that occurred during the December 10, 2016 rerun/supplementary elections to elect members of the National Assembly and House of Assembly in Rivers State.
“The Judicial Commission of Inquiry which would be inaugurated on Thursday at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, Port Harcourt, has the following terms of reference.
Investigate the remote and immediate causes of the violence during the December 10, 2016 rerun/supplementary elections in Rivers State.
Identify the perpetrators of the various acts of violence and killings in the aforesaid election.
Identify the victims of the violence including those killed
Identify if property was damaged and the value of any such property
Determine if the violence was localised to specific areas within the state or was state-wide
Make appropriate recommendations concerning their findings or any other recommendations as the commission may consider appropriate in the circumstance and
Submit its report to the Governor of Rivers State within one month from the date of its sitting, ” the statement reads.
Police Probe Panel
This follows the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) demand for the immediate redeployment of Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak.
According to the party, the REC had colluded with Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to rig the elections in favour of PDP.
In an election which was violence-ridden, the APC made the comments after an audio recording which was said to done Wike, surfaced few days ago.
According to the party, the audio in which the governor allegedly threatened INEC officials, confirmed their fears of him engaging in unwholesome conducts that contributed to compromising the integrity of the electoral process.
They also said concerning the 70 incidents reported, Wike must submit himself to the Police Probe Panel to join the police in bringing an end to the killings in Rivers State since he assumed office.
The governor on the other hand, rejected the order, stating that himself, as well as people of the state would not be party to the police ‘phoney’ probe panel.