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|NHRC Adjourns Sitting From Lagos To Abuja: Ekiti State Govt,pdp Not Ready by sojiboy(m): 10:02pm On Mar 28|
National Human Rights Commission Adjourns Sitting from Lagos to Abuja; Ekiti State Govt, PDP not ready
The National Human Rights Commission Public hearing about hate speech and pre election violence petitions submitted by the Ekiti APC in 2015 has adjourned sitting from Lagos to Abuja on a date to be communicated to both parties.
The adjournment became necessary as the commission acceded to the request of the respondents' counsel who also doubles as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ekiti State, Barrister Kolade Kolapo.
He told the commission that he was not the AG when the issues came up so he was not familiar with facts of the case and has not seen the respondent and petitioner, the Governor in the last one week. He wanted to confer with the governor to know if he would come personally or send witnesses.
He thereby sought for adjournment of the matters to help him get the facts of the matter and study the depositions of the petitioners' witnesses who were present in court. The commission suggested that the depositions of witnesses already filed at the commission and served on the respondents should be adopted while the respondents can thereafter do cross examination at the next sitting in Abuja but the counsel the the respondent pleaded with the commission for adjournment.
The APC in Ekiti State between February and April 2014 wrote series of petitions to the commission alleging Governor Ayodele Fayose as the chief sponsor of many attacks on party members in many towns across the state before the Presidential, State and National Assemblies elections. Many towns were raised by suspected Fayose thugs with many members beaten, harassed and maimed while there were shootings in the towns, driving many members of the opposition out of town. This was allegedly done in connivance with the then State Commissioner of Police (now AIG) Taiwo Lakanu who is also a respondent at the hearing. On the other hand, Governor Fayose also wrote a petition alleging the APC of killing one Olaiya Modupe at Itawure junction. In all, APC had three petitions while Governor Fayose had one.
Those present in court were APC witnesses including the APC chairman Ch. Olajide Awe whille the Deputy Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Mr. Segun Adewumi who was alleged of pre election violence in Erijiyan Ekiti was also present.
The petitions have been narrowed down to three main petitions by the National Human Right Commission after its first sitting in Ekiti on April 26 and 27, 2017 where victims of pre election violence gave evidence against Governor Fayose and the PDP.
1. Alleged Pre Election Violence
Ambassador Gbenga Olofin (Deceased)
The case was struck out because the petitioner is deceased and there is no way a deposition can be made for a deceased person. It is also difficult to have witnesses. Though the case was struck out by the commission, it is still in the office of the IGP.
2. Alleged sponsors of pre-election Violence in Ekiti State
Omotoso Ayodele Paul and 47 others-(Petitioners)
Taiwo Lakanu (AIG)- Respondent
Segun Adewumi- Respondent
Counsels to the APC, Biodun Fasakin and Tajudeen Akingbolu brought 18 witnesses out of which 13 had depositions on oath and were ready to proceed with the hearing but counsel to the respondents, Kolade Kolapo sought for adjournment to enable him get familiar with facts of the case as he was newly appointed the Attorney -General.
For fair hearing, the commission granted the request of the respondents and adjourned hearing of the matter to Abuja in a date to be communicated to both parties.
3. Alleged sponsor of pre-election violence in Erijiyan-Ekiti
Omotoso Ayodele Paul- Petitioner
Ayodele Fayose- Respondent
Segun Adewumi- Respondent
Eight witnesses were brought to the hearing with five having statements on oath. Respondents counsel confirmed he has been served but inside the court so like the other matters mentioned before, he had no time to study the depositions. He again sought for adjournment and was granted promising to file his response on time after he might have consulted with his clients especially Governor Fayose.
The commission's counsel, Kabiru said since the complaint was addressed to the office of the Inspector General of Police, the commission should ask the office of IGP to furnish the panel about what is being done about the matter to which the respondents' counsel raised no objection. The matter was adjourned to Abuja and the parties will be duly notified.
4. Alleged murder of Modupe Olaiya
Ayodele Fayose- Petitioner
The respondents brought two witnesses with their statements on oath which has been served on the petitioner. counsel to the petitioner said he has not been briefed by the petitioner, Governor Fayose about facts of the matter as he was appointed as AG not long ago and the processes had not been served on him. The respondent's counsel disagreed because the process has long been served on the petitioner through the office of the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State. Counsel to the petitioner said the service was on the wrong person who was not a party to the case as the rules of the commission states that the petitioner must be served personally or in the alternative, through the Attorney General of the state but non of this was done. Kolade then asked for adjournment of the matter to enable him confer with the petitioner and be abreast of the rules of the commission which was just availed him at the court hearing.
Counsel to the respondents asked the commission to either strike out the petition or if it must adjourne the case, to impose a fine of N1m on the petitioner for not being prepared despite being the petitioner in this particular matter and for wasting the time of the panel.
NHRC Counsel said the matter is already before the office of the DIG, criminal Intelligence to oblige the commission with a report on the matter.
The commission adjourned the matter to Abuja without imposing any fine on the petitioner.
The National Human Rights Commission Public Hearing on Complaints on Hate Speeches And Election Related Violence (South West) sat in Lagos from Monday March 26 to Wednesday March 28. Secretary designate to the commission and chairman of the panel, Tony Njoku said all cases of hate speech and election violence shall be investigated and perpetrators will be prosecuted. The Public Hearing is about complaints received since 2015 elections from Ekiti State. All sides shall be given fair hearing while those indicted shall be recommended to either the AGF or the Attorney General of that state for prosecution after conclusion of proceedings.
Njoku said a register has been opened where names of hate speech makers and perpetrators of election violence will be written as a reference point for historians and researchers.
Correspondent, The Sunshine Chronicle, Lagos
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