By Ben Agande and Jimitota Onoyume
…As Amaechi sets up commission of inquiry
ABUJA—The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, Monday, called on the feuding parties in Rivers State to consider the social, political and economic costs of the crisis to the state and its people and urgently find a way of resolving their political differences amicably.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government, yesterday, set up a commission of inquiry to investigate last week’s crisis in the state House of Assembly.
The panel is headed by Justice Biobele Georgewill. Inaugurating the Commission, the deputy governor, Mr. Tele Ikiru, who represented the governor, charged the commission to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the crisis, adding that it should submit its report to the state government on or before October 15, this year.
However, Dame Jonathan in a statement in Abuja, by her Senior Special Assistant, Ayo Osinlu, said if the crisis was not resolved, “the greater consequence of the impasse is, as usual, reserved for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, especially women and children, who are usually innocent bystanders in all these.
”This derives naturally from the saying that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. On a larger scale, we subscribe to the fact that conflicts and violence are the most lethal threats to peace, which itself is the irreducible minimum condition for development.
”The situation must, therefore, not be allowed to degenerate to a level that can be hijacked by miscreants and hoodlums, thus exposing everyone to insecurity from which there may be no easy escape.
”We, therefore, call on elders of the state to intervene in the matter and continue to seek the highest good of Rivers State and its people, by stone-walling the activities of the few, who would rather fan little embers into a consuming inferno. Recent experience where certain otherwise respected elders of the country, from within and outside Rivers State, were canvassing views that seemed to intensify the heat in Rivers State, is certainly unfortunate.”
The Rivers Commission of Inquiry is to ascertain how many persons were injured, threatened and property destroyed. The Commission is also to determine if the incidents were caused by external factors or by members of the House.
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Georgewill, assured that they would discharge their duties without sentiments.
He appealed to the state government to ensure that the recommendations of the panel were implemented when submitted.