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Amaechi opposes court order stopping panel on political killings

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Rotimi Ameachi

Amaechi

Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, has urged the commission of inquiry on political killings in the state to disregard a purported court order restraining it from sitting.

The governor through his legal counsel, Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), said the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) having failed to make the Commission a party in suit No. FHC/PHC/256/2015, should not expect the commission to be barred by any court injunction.

The chairman of the commission set up by Governor Amaechi to probe recent politically motivated killings in the State, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, at its resumed sitting yesterday in Port Harcourt, stated that members have not been served any court process.

Counsel to the governor argued that under the Rivers State Law Cap 30 Section 2 subsection 1, a commission of inquiry is a separate and distinct legal entity, thus, ought to have been included in the suit filed by the PDP seeking to restrain it from probing the recent killings in Rivers State.

According to him, the name of the chairman and other members of the commission are completely distinct from the commission itself.

To buttress his point that the commission should proceed with its findings, the governor insisted that no court of law has any right to make an order against the interest of a person that is not included in a matter before it. “The PDP having failed to make the commission a party, cannot expect it to be barred by the injunction.

The PDP’s lawyer is aware that the commission is distinct. So, the commission should disregard the order. It is an order made against parties in the suit and not the commission” he said.

The PDP’s lawyer, Mr. Emma Aguma, had on Monday brought a copy of an interim order of the Federal High Court restraining the commission from proceeding with its findings pending the determination of the suit filed by the party.

Responding to the commission members affirmation that Aguma had briefed them of the pending court order, the governor’s counsel explained that since the commission was not a party in the suit, it is impossible and erroneous to serve it.

He further added that by virtue of the Order 6, Rule 1 of Federal High Court civil procedure 2009, the PDP counsel is not one of those empowered by law to serve an order of court.

The governor insisted that the commission cannot obey an order of a matter it is a part of. Charging the commission to continue with its findings, he observed that members of the commission had also not been served in their individual capacity with all necessary court processes within the three days which the court order had anticipated they ought to have responded to the suit.

The governor accused the PDP of breaching the rule of law by not adhering to the statutory provisions as it concerns service. “ An order not served on a respondent loses its potency and the respondent is not bound by it, don’t obey the order.

It has lost its potency and it has expired,” he said. The chairman, Odinkalu reiterated that the members had up till yesterday not been served with an court processes and so went ahead with hearing petitions from the chairman of the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Augustine Ahiamadu and others.


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