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River corpses: NBA demands judicial commission of enquiry

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By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE

National Executive Committee, NEC, of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to set up a high-powered Presidential Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate the cause of death, source and identity of the floating corpses discovered on Ezu River between Anambra and Enugu States.

In a communiqué at the end of its monthly NEC meeting in Makurdi, Benue State, NBA noted that on January 19, about 40 corpses were found floating in a river in Anambra State, adding that nobody had come to claim any of the said floating corpses and there was no report of communal clashes or any boat mishap in or around the communities in both concerned states.

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“The  NEC viewed with serious concern, the discovery of floating corpses in Ezu River, Amansea/Awka, Anambra State and called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, to set up a high-powered Presidential Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate the cause of death, source and identity of the floating corpses with a view to bringing any person(s) behind their death to book” the communiqué stated.

NBA said that the floating corpses amounted to gross human rights violation, and a degradation of human life. Consequently, the association considered the possible human rights violations involved in the incident and the urgent global importance of getting to the root of the matter.

A committee, set up by NBA President, Chief Okey Wali, in order to monitor the incident and report to the NEC, noted that they swung into action immediately after its inauguration on February 29. The committee, had the First Vice-President of the NBA Mr. O. J. Erhabor as chairman and former chairman of Abakaliki branch, Mr. Anthony Oka as secretary.

Erhabor in its interim report explained that the committee visited some places and had interviews with the traditional Ruler of Amansea Community Igwe Kenneth Okonkwo and the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Anambra State Police Command, Emeka Chukwuemeka.

He said: “The committee interviewed several persons from Amansea community, who witnessed the incident firsthand before stakeholders came to the scene before arriving at the interim report.”

Meanwhile, NBA at its NEC meeting approved the bid by Cross River State to host the 2013 Annual General Conference (AGC) of the association in Calabar. NEC also approved the theme “Law, Leadership and Challenges of Nationhood in the 21st Century Nigeria”.

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