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Extrajudicial Killing In Oyigbo: Wike, NBA Chairman Disagree

Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has taken exception to the claim by the Chairman of the Port-Harcourt branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Prince Onyekwere, of massive extrajudicial killings in Oyigbo following #EndSARS protests in the state.

The NBA chairman had commended the governor while speaking at a special court session in Port-Harcourt to mark the new legal year - 2020-2021 - for his resilience and proactive steps in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and for efforts made to develop the state.

He had said that the Nigerian Bar Association was also pleased over the infrastructural development in the judiciary but mentioned alleged extrajudicial killing in Oyigbo which had prompted the governor to react.

Governor Wike said that it was unfair for the chairman of the Port-Harcourt branch of the NBA to allege extrajudicial killing and would not talk about what happened.

The governor said: “The chairman on behalf of all the other branches did say that there is extrajudicial killing in Oyigbo. I want to take exception to that. I want to take serious exception to that. I don't know how you came about that. A judicial panel of inquiry has been set up which we believe the NBA should submit a memorandum and which you have not submitted.

“You spoke on behalf of NBA, you know that there is extrajudicial killing, have you submitted any memorandum, certainly not, and now you have passed a judgement that there is extrajudicial killing in Rivers State”.

The governor said that soldiers and policemen were killed, by suspected members of the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), after the #EndSARS protest was hijacked in Oyigbo, which had prompted him to declare 24-hour curfew in the area.

“You forgot to tell the people how soldiers were killed and burnt, how policemen were killed but what you tell them is extrajudicial killing. That isn't fair. If you have any problem go to the judicial panel and present your case (and) let us know whether there was any extrajudicial killing or not”, he also said.

The national body of the Nigerian Bar Association had set up an investigative panel which it had sent to the state on alleged extrajudicial killing in Oyigbo.

The President of the NBA, Mr Olumide Akpata, had said the team would visit Oyigbo to make inquiry into the alleged killing and publish findings.

The team had been made up of an NBA First Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins, two former Chairmen of the NBA in Port-Harcourt and another former Chairman of the group in Ukwa.

He had said that he had inquired about the situation from the chairmen of Port-Harcourt and Ukwa branches, which were closest to Oyigbo.