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Men In Military Uniform Killed My Son, Witness Cries Out To Commission

A man from Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State has testified at the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the violence, killings and other related acts which allegedly occurred in the February 23rd and March 9, 2019 General Elections in Rivers State, that his son, who was an electoral agent for Peoples Democratic Party, was killed by men in military uniform on 9th of March, 2019 in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.

Testifying before the commission in Port-Harcourt on Tuesday, Hon. Marvis Azunwon, said that his son, Chijioke Davies Azunwon, was shot dead at a Registration Area Centre (RAC) in the local government area by men in military uniform who came to where he was in a Tundra Jeep.

He said that the men in military uniform asked for results of the election and when his son said that he had no results, they shot him.

He said: “On the 9th of March, 2019, my son was shot dead. He was E Agent of Peoples Democratic Party. His unit was Unit I, Ward 9 in Oyigbo Local Government. In the morning that day, we all went to vote… After the election, he was there at the RAC centre when a Tundra Jeep came in there and then one of them came out from the jeep and others started shooting, so, that one went to him and said 'where is the result?' He said he's not with the result. He shot him”.

He recalled that his son was killed in front of St. Paul's Anglican Church in Oyigbo which was the RAC centre.

He also testified that his son was confirmed dead in a hospital, saying that he was buried on the 4th of May, 2019.

The witness brought to the commission of inquiry an obituary which announced the death and burial plans for his late son, disclosing that his son was aged 29.

Tuesday was the inaugural sitting of the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Rivers State government to investigate the violence, killings and other related acts which allegedly occurred during the February 23rd and March 9, 2019 general elections in the Rivers state.

In his inaugural speech, Chairman of the Commission, Justice Monima Danagogo, welcomed everyone present to the inaugural sitting, saying that the commission was set up by Governor Nyesom Wike to “look into the violence, killings and other related acts and matters” which allegedly occurred in the last election in Rivers State.

He said that the commission was set up by Governor Wike pursuant to Section 2 (1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law, Cap 30, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

He said that the terms of reference of the commission include to investigate the “remote and immediate causes of the violence, killings and other related acts and matters which occurred during the February 23rd and March 9, 2019 General Elections in Rivers State”.

He further said that other terms of reference for the commission include to identify sponsors and perpetrators of the various acts of violence and killings which occurred in the state during the last election, to identify victims of the violence including those killed and to identify any motives behind the violence and killings and to make recommendations on ways and means of preventing a re-occurrence of violence and killings in Rivers State during elections and to submit the commissions' report to the governor of the state within thirty days of its first sitting, among others.

Justice Danagogo said that the commission was inaugurated by Governor Wike on 28th of March, 2019, saying that Tuesday's sitting was the commission's first official sitting.

He said that the commission would not witch-hunt anybody.

The commission's chairman said: “As you may be aware, we are a fact-finding body. We are not here to witch-hunt anybody. We are not also sitting as a court of law. It follows, therefore, that we are not bound by the straight ways of the law of evidence but we are duty bound to fully observe and follow all the known principles of natural justice”.

He said that the commission will “impartially” consider every memorandum submitted to it and would grant audience to anyone mentioned in each of the memoranda, and asked for co-operation from everyone to finish the job within set time.