- The Rivers state government has been told that it cannot designate its panel as a judicial commission of inquiry
- This was the verdict of the Supreme Court in a ruling concerning the actions of the state government
- The apex court pronounced that the function of the judicial commission of inquiry was mere investigative
FCT, Abuja - The Supreme Court has affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal that the Rivers state government cannot designate its panel as a judicial commission of inquiry.
The apex court in dismissing the appeal, however, pronounced that the function of the judicial commission of inquiry was mere investigative, that nobody was on trial before the panel and therefore the issue of a fair hearing did not arise.
The apex court stated that the commission is a mere investigative body and cannot convict or indict.
Governor Nyesom Wike had set up a judicial commission of inquiry in 2015 to investigate some transactions of the Rivers state government under the administration of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, immediate past minister of transportation.
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Amaechi challenged the designation of the panel as a judicial commission of inquiry instead of commission of inquiry as prescribed by the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers State.
The former minister also challenged the issue of denial of his right to a fair hearing by the government's panel.
The two courts which heard the matter before now held that the governor was empowered by law to set up a panel of inquiry, and with the name Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
However, they held that decision of the panel of inquiry did not amount to conviction or indictment to warrant any adverse effect on Amaechi on anyone else for that matter.
Amaechi, not satisfied with the decision that a governor could name the panel any other name other than prescribed by the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers state, filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.
With the judgement delivered today, legal experts say it is now clear that a governor cannot designate a panel of inquiry either as a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or Commission of Inquiry (simpliciter).
It has been further settled that the decisions/recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry and subsequent White Paper issued by a Government is not a conviction or indictment as to adversely affect a person seeking elective office.
Court nullifies Emenike’s emergence as APC guber candidate in Abia
Meanwhile, an Abia High Court has nullified the victory of Chief Ikechi Emenike, the acclaimed winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election held in the state on Thursday, May 26.
At the end of Thursday's controversial primary election in Abia state, the embattled Chief Emenike was declared the winner.
But a court presided by Justice O. A Chijioke, in a suit instituted by Mr. Chinedum Nwole and two others, declared that Emenike lacks the locus standi to contest the primary election based on the fact that he had been suspended from the party.
2023: Zamfara APC chieftains close ranks as Yari orders withdrawal of court cases
In a related development, following the reconciliation of the warring camps in the Zamfara chapter of the APC, a former governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, has ordered the immediate withdrawal of four litigations instituted against the party in the state.
The national chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, had on May 8/9 reconciled the camp of Governor Bello Matawalle and that of his predecessor, Yari, and Senator Kabiru Garba Marafa.
The announcement of the withdrawal of the suits was made by Senator Marafa at the end of a consultative meeting of stakeholders held at Garba Nadama hall in Gusau, the Zamfara state capital on Wednesday 25.