Judicial commission on murdered lawyer begins sitting

The judicial commission of enquiry set up by the Enugu State government to investigate the murder of a lawyer, Mr. Ejimofor Ozongwu, has held its inaugural sitting.

Its Chairman, Retired Justice Obi Eze, appealing to lawyers appearing before the commission to avoid technicalities to enable it get the root of the matter.

The late Ozongwu, a lawyer, was murdered on December 23, 2015 by suspected assassins after he was called out from a wedding reception and told that some persons had trespassed into his farm at his community, Okojo-Ngwo, Enugu State.

Speaking at the inaugural sitting of the commission, the chairman, Justice Obi Eze, said the terms of reference of the panel included, among other things, to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the crisis in Okojo-Ngwo community; to determine the number of people that have lost their lives or injured in the crisis, to find out properties destroyed as well as those involved in the crisis.

The commission is also mandated to review the reports and recommendations of previous enquiries into the Okojo-Ngwo community and recommend ways of achieving lasting peace in the community.

Memoranda

Justice Obi Eze said the commission had received 16 memoranda since it was inaugurated.

He said all those who submitted memoranda to the commission must appear to give oral evidence before the commission, stating that the commission might invite anyone mentioned in the memoranda to appear before it.

All the counsels appearing before the panel, including Chris Aghanwa, Oyibo Chukwu and Professor Nnamani Ogbu, spoke on the need for truthful and unobstructed evidence to enable the commission unearth the truth.

Speaking to journalists after the inaugural sitting, Professor Osita Nnamani Ogbu, who is also the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Enugu Branch, said that the government had shown seriousness in the crisis by setting up the commission.

He expressed concern that the police was yet to arrest all the suspects in the matter some of whom had travelled out of Nigeria.

Ogbu said that the NBA might institute an action for the Writ of Mandamus to compel the police to do their work in the matter.

Brother to the deceased, Mr. Eric Ozongwu, said he was hopeful that the commission would get to the root of the matter and make recommendations that will bring lasting peace in their community.