Osunbor faults rights commission over indictment
A Chieftain of the ruling All progressive congress (APC) and former governor of Edo State, Senator Oserheimen Osunbor, has faulted the National Human Rights Commission’s report, which indicted him overelectoral offences in the 2007 governorship election in Edo State.
Recall that the commission in its report named Osunbor amongst other politicians found to have allegedly violated the Electoral Act and should be prosecuted for alleged electoral offence committed during their quest for political offices at different times.
But Osunbor, while reacting to the report, threatened to sue the rights commission for defamation and violation of his fundamental human rights.
He remarked that it was unfortunate that the NHRC could go out of its way to malign him without recourse to the rule of law. He challenged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to evaluate the performance of the NHRC, as the commission has become notorious for hiding under the cloak of legal technicalities to churn out baseless reports and indictments.
Osunbor advised that if the commission must live up to its name and Federal Government must revisit its current composition and structure, including the enabling law establishing it, part of which he said violates the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution.
The former governor and professor of law in his statement said that the latest incident is the second within two years that the rights body would be engaging in, describing it as “unwarranted defamation” of his character, adding that the first was in April 2014, when the agency published his name among those indicted for flouting the Electoral Act.
He said he instituted legal action against the Rights Commission when it became obvious that the body couldn’t answer the queries contained in his 2014 letter to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe, seeking clarifications about the specific electoral offences he had committed, as the body in response, said it based its recommendation on the judgment of the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
According to Osunbor, neither the Election Petition Tribunal nor the Court of Appeal indicted him for any wrong doing during the election, adding that he instituted the 2014 suit against the commission to quash the purported indictment, including restraining them for further damaging his reputation.
“The case is still pending in court, hence sub judice, a fact known to Prof. Angwe and the commission, yet they carry on wrongfully as if the commission is superior to and knows better than the courts of law.
“For the commission to come up more than two years later to again announce my indictment by them for electoral violence or any other offence, is to say the least, in contempt of court and a display of naked impunity. The judgments of the election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which nullified my election after cancelling votes scored by my party and some scored by the petitioners as well, did not indict me for any offence,” he said.
The former governor maintained that throughout the period of litigation, nobody accused him or alleged that he committed any offence during the election, saying that the issue of his indictment by the tribunal as claimed by the commission is untenable.