Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, has described the setting up of “a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the violence, mayhem and grave breach of the peace that occurred in parts of the state on or about the 3rd to 6th of December, 2015” by the state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, as unacceptable, unfortunate, and diversionary.
In a statement issued in Yenagoa on Friday by his Media Adviser, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, Sylva said, “It is only an inept, directionless, and nervous governor, like Dickson, that would set up a commission of inquiry into violence that marred an election that is still on-going, and one in which he is involved in as a key actor.
“What manner of justice does anyone in his right senses expect from such a commission of inquiry? The inquiry is bizarre and already biased from the onset.
According to the statement, “Justice Margaret Akpomiemie, who was made the chairman of the commission, is still nursing a grudge against Sylva for his refusal to make her Chief Judge of Bayelsa State during his tenure as governor. Justice Akpomiemie’s decision to accept this hatchet job offered by outgoing governor Dickson is clearly a revenge mission against Sylva. She is on a clear mission of vendetta.
“Besides, the inquiry is diversionary because Dickson and his party, Peoples Democratic Party, are principal actors in the violence orchestrated against APC leaders and supporters in an attempt to intimidate the people in areas where APC was obviously poised to win, and hand him an illusory victory.
“All Bayelsans and, indeed, Nigerians are living witnesses to the unbridled desperation displayed by Dickson and PDP during the December 5 governorship election, which he knows he cannot win. Such desperation had driven the governor and his party to the extent of importing militants from neighbouring states to attack Sylva’s campaign Director-General and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri; Sylva, and other APC leaders and supporters across the state.
“In his state of extreme anxiety, Dickson had also personally engaged in direct incitement of mayhem against APC supporters and leaders in radio announcements and statements, which stoked crisis in many parts of the state during the election and resulted in the killing and maiming of innocent Bayelsans.
“The attempt to cover up Dickson’s acts and divert attention from his violent machinations with this charade of an inquiry will not work. We will not allow ourselves to be drawn into or subjected to the hoax, which Dickson, Akpomiemie, and others are trying to play on the people of Bayelsa State. Bayelsa State belongs to us.
“The outgoing governor should not make the mistake of thinking that he can act in any way that serves his inordinate political interests because he is still in office. We are not in a banana republic.”
The Chief Press Secretary to Dickson, Daniel Iworiso-Markson in a statement had said that“His Excellency, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, has by virtue of the powers conferred upon him by section 2 (1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law, Cap 8 Laws of Bayelsa State of Nigeria 2006 and in exercise of all other powers enabling him in that behalf, hereby constitutes and appoint a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violence, mayhem and grave breach of the peace that occurred in parts of the State on or about the 3rd to 6th of December, 2015 as follows:
1. Hon. Justice Margaret Akpomiemie – Chairman
2. Brigadier-General Bob Ake (rtd) -Member
3. Dr. (Mrs.) Victoria Abah Tekena – Member
4. Mrs. Martha Akpana – Member
5. Mr. Abraham Lord Ekiamene – Secretary
6. Barrister Tamadu Abasi – Counsel for the Commission
“A quorum of the Commission shall be constituted, if at any of its sittings, the Chairman and two others are present.
“The Commission shall hold its first sitting as soon as it is sworn in and shall hold inquiries at such places and dates as the Chairman may determine.
“Terms of Reference of the Commission shall be as follows:
1. To determine the number and identities of the persons that were injured or killed, if any, during the violence, mayhem and breach of the peace that occurred in parts of Bayelsa State on or about the 3rd to 6thDecember, 2015.
2. To determine the extent of damage to property, if any, during the said incidents.
3. To identify the perpetrators of the said violence, mayhem and breach of the peace and recommend appropriate action.
4. To determine the role played by the security agencies in the said incidents, if any.
5. To recommend measures aimed at averting future occurrences of such incidents.
6. To make any recommendations as the Commission may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
7. To do such other lawful act(s) for the purpose of giving effect to or that may be incidental to the fore – going terms of reference.
“The Commission shall take such evidence as would enable it perform the task hereby entrusted to it.
The Commission, has not later than 21 days, from its first sitting or within such extended period as may be allowed in writing to submit its report.”