Stakeholders in Rivers State on Tuesday has called on the National Judicial Commission (NJC) to ensure justice is meted out to perpetrators of violence during and after the 2019 general elections.
“Whilst we cannot and should not stop the Nigerian Army or indeed any professional body from reviewing the conduct of its own personnel, we hereby call for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to be speedily set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria to secure a broader thorough, professional and unbiased inquiry into the massive loss of lives which occurred before, during and after the elections in Rivers State,” the stakeholders said in a statement.
“We have watched with disbelief and horror recent violent incidents which occurred before, during and after the elections that were held in Rivers State on 23rd February 2019 and 9th March 2019. These incidents occurred supposedly as a result of the elections.”
The stakeholders included the founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside, the pioneer chairman of the NBA section on Business Law, George Etomi, CEO and group managing director of Access Bank Plc, Dr Herbert Onyewumbu Wigwe, chairman of Aveon Offshore Ltd, Tein George, Senator John Azuta-Mbata, oil and entrepreneur Emmanuel Georgewill and former Nigeria Bar Association president Mr O.C.J. Okocha.
While commending the Nigeria Army for launching an investigation into the role played some of its personnel in violence during and after the election, they called for unbiased treatment for the erring officers.
“Every single death must be investigated and the culprits brought to justice,” they said in the statement.
The stakeholders lamented that “these violent incidents have led to the needless loss of so many lives, especially youths in various communities. We do not believe that elections which are designed to enable the people to choose their leaders should lead to their death instead.”
They expressed willingness to work with sincere and responsible stakeholders and all genuine friends of Rivers State to find a lasting solution to the problems that have bedevilled the state.
They said the “inability of the political leaders in our State to manage their rivalries and differences within acceptable norms of a civilised society as has been done in several other States in Nigeria” had caused the breakdown of law and order which is troubling for the safety of lives.
The stakeholders urged “all indigenes of Rivers State who are engaged in politics and their Political Parties to act with restraint at all times and avoid utterances that may further inflame passions.”