The Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Police Brutality on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by Oyigbo Indigenous Lawyers Association (OILA) seeking to ban activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Oyigbo Local Government Area.
In dismissing the petition, Chairman of the Panel, Hon. Justice Chukwunenye Uriri (Rtd), said the matter was outside the terms of reference of the commission, which principally relate with police brutality.
The petition, which was filed on behalf of the peoples of Oyigbo Local Government Area, also demanded that Rivers State government should rebuild all the public buildings destroyed during the #EndSARS protest in the area.
Counsel to OILA, O.C Higher-King, who deplored the dismissal of their petition, told reporters that the proscribed IPOB had taken Oyigbo because government abandoned the area.
He said though there were many cases of police and military brutality against the people of Oyigbo, they were at the commission to draw attention to the neglect of the area and to canvass for government to rebuild the houses destroyed during the mayhem that came in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
Higher-King said, “We recommend that the state government take over Oyigbo and own Oyigbo because a bride that is abandoned is a public property. It is not just this government that abandoned us, precious governments. That is the problem we have, but they have struck it out.
“We also demanded that they should rebuild the entire damaged infrastructure in Oyigbo including Police stations and all the Courts. You can see they those recommendations were actually not supposed to be struck out but that is the law for now.
“We further demanded that the state government should do all it can to curtail the excesses of IPOB and all that because they have been alleged to be the people that destroyed those things and all that with the military and the police.”
IPOB had been proscribed by an order of court and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State a few months ago banned the organisation’s activities in Rivers State. Wike had accused IPOB members in Oyigbo of burning down police stations, a court hall and killing three policemen and six soldiers. He went on to declare a 24-hour lockdown on the local government for several weeks, which drew condemnations from all over the world.