Sunday, September 20, 2020

Igbo group threatens court action against Enugu govt

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

IGBO socio-cultural think-tank, Nzuko Umunna, has threatened to drag Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu to court, if it fails to set up a judicial panel on the August 23 massacre of 22 unarmed Enugu youths.

In a notice to Governor Ugwuanyi, made available to newsmen, solicitors to Nzuko Umunna and registered Trustees of Christian Network and Community Development, Edwin Anikwem, noted that victims of the massacre were having physical exercise when persons suspected to be State Security officials opened fire on the unarmed youths.

The solicitors said that unprovoked attack and murder of innocent and unarmed youths has caused unrest within Enugu and its environs as the citizens are living in fear of who may be the next victim.

The group, therefore, told Governor Ugwuanyi that as the Chief Security Officer of Enugu State, he was responsible for the protection of lives and properties of citizens of Enugu state.

“In view of the above, we urge Your Excellency to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry as provided under the Enugu State Commission of Inquiry Law, Laws of Enugu State 2004 to ascertain the immediate and remote cause(s) of, the persons involved in the aforementioned killings at Emene, Enugu State,” the group demanded from Ugwuanyi.

The group said the panel, if set up, will recommend appropriate sanctions to be meted out to persons identified to be with the massacre and also profer solutions on how to prevent future occurrence in the State.

“It is our belief that the execution of the above request will help to restore peace amongst citizens of Enugu State and its environs especially Emene where the incident occurred.

“Please take notice that if after four weeks from the date of service of this letter on you, you fail, neglect and/or refuse to set up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry as requested, we shall institute an action against you without further notice.

“The cause of action of which will be Failure to set up Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into the circumstances surrounding the killings of youths at Emene Enugu by persons suspected to be Security Officials with a view to preventing future occurrences,” the solicitors indicated.

The proposed reliefs to be sought by Nzuko Umunna, if Ugwuanyi fails to set up the panel of inquiry shall include a declaration that the massacre of 22 unarmed youths violated Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 LFN 2004 which guaranteed right to life and prohibits the killing of human beings without an order of court.

The legal team also indicated that the massacre violates the fundamental rights to life of the deceased and that Ugwuanyi’s failure to set up the panel amounted to a dereliction of duty; among demands for order of mandamus.

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