<<< By Tahav Agerzua >>>
A Makurdi High Court Judge, Justice Adam Onum, today dismissed the two suits filed by former Governor Gabriel Suswam challenging the probe of his administration.
Delivering judgement on the suits, Justice Onum accordingly vacated the earlier order granted by the state Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande, through his ruling on a motion exparte granting stay of proceedings on the sitting of the two commissions of inquiry on eight of last month.
Justice Onum said he agreed with the submission of counsel to the state government, Mr. Sebastine Hon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, that the Governor has powers to set up the commissions of inquiry, pointing out that such was not only vested exclusively in the State Houses of Assembly contrary to the submission by the counsel to the former governor, Dr. Suswam.
He explained that the Governor of a state can set up such commissions as a fact finding mission and whatever name he may choose to give to the inquiry does not matter adding that it also does not amount to witch hunting but that it was a matter of public interest.
On the submission by counsel representing Dr. Suswam that the report by the two commissions of inquiry be quashed, Justice Onum stated that he could not do so because the report was not before him.
On whether the commission of inquiry laws were outdated, Justice Onum declared that various sections of the 1999 Constitution indicated that such laws were still in existence and that they had not been repealed.
The Judge stated that the commission of inquiry does not have the power to order arrests, impose fines or summarily convict persons saying such power is only vested in the laws of the land.
Both the state Attorney General and Justice Commissioner, Mr. Michael Gusa, and counsel to the state government, Mr. Hon described the judgment as sound saying the commissions could now resume their work.