BY KOLADE LAREWAJU
ABEOKUTA-TO redress the perceived wrongs of the past and ensure peaceful coexistence among the citizens of Ogun State, governor Ibikunle Amosun Wednesday inaugurated a Truth Commission.
Known as the Ogun State Truth Commission, the five-man panel is to investigate human rights abuses in the state between January, 2003 and May 29, 2011.
Chief Olusegun Osoba ruled the state up to May 28, 2003 while ex-governor Gbega Daniel was in charge from that time to May this year
Speaking at the swearing-in of members of the Commission, the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, lamented alleged maiming and killings of citizens of the state on account of political differences and gross violation of people’s fundamental human rights guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said: “Today’s event is symbolic because it is aimed at acknowledging the wrongdoings and ensuring justice for those who lost their lives or suffered injuries during this period. It is also to prevent a recurrence of such.”
Governor Amosun also at the inauguration reiterated his appeal to people in possession of illegal arms and ammunition to submit them to law enforcement agencies, saying; “At this stage, you will not be liable. However, you will be liable when the moratorium is over. So take advantage of this and hand over your weapons!”
The Commission is headed by Justice Pius Aderemi, retired Supreme Court Judge.
Other members are: Justice Abdullahi Mustapha (rtd), Justice Dolapo Akinsanya (rtd.), Mr. Bamidele Aturu, a Human Rights activist and Mr. Tunji Onabanwo, a nominee of the Ogun State branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The Commission is expected to complete its assignment and submit its report on or before the December 13.
The governor enjoined members of the public to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Commission, “so that we can resolve most of these issues once and for all.”
Responding on behalf of the Commission, Justice Aderemi promised to discharge the duties without fear or favour.
The terms of reference of the Commission includes; Inquire into reports, complaints and cases of deaths, disappearance and assassinations of persons between January, 2003 and 29th of May, 2011 with a view to determining whether or not such deaths, disappearance and assassinations involve the abuse or misuse of power by any person or persons holding public office or by any person or group of persons acting under the control or authority of such public office holder.
Reactions by perceived victim
Former Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Comrade Tunde Oladunjoye, who is generally perceived to have been victimised during the period in question, has described the setting up of Truth Commission by Governor Ibikunle Amosun as a “welcome development.”
Oladunjoye, in a press statement issued yesterday in Abeokuta, remarked that “it is hoped that the Truth Commission will be able to unravel the illegalities and brutalities perpetrated during the period”
On whether he will appear before the Truth Commission, Oladunjoye said “ I am still talking to my lawyers and I will let you know later”.