The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has said it would invite the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to appear before it when it is set to probe the allegations by All Progressives Congress that he was staging attacks on members of the opposition in the state.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, made this known while receiving the response of Mr. Fayose to the allegations from a delegation of the Peoples Democratic Party, at his office in Abuja on Friday.
It would be recalled that the APC, in its petition submitted to the commission exactly one week earlier by the party secretary in Ekiti State, Omotosho Ayodele, alleged that both the PDP and Fayose were sending thugs to unleash violence on its members with attendant destruction of property.
The APC also alleged that the attacks on its members had continued despite the series of complaints lodged with the police for intervention.
But Angwe, while receiving members of the PDP in Ekiti State, led by the party chairman in the state, Tope Aluko, and the Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Owoseni Ajayi, stressed that the allegations contained in the petition would be thoroughly investigated.
Angwe said: “We are happy that you have chosen to come to respond to the allegations against Dr. Ayodele Fayose. Upon the receipt of the petition (by the APC), we had dispatched an invitation to the governor and the PDP Chairman in Ekiti State. We are happy that you are here to represent the governor and that the PDP Chairman in Ekiti is here in person.
“On the receipt of that petition, we had said that the commission would invoke its powers to ensure that justice is done irrespective of position as there is no immunity when it comes to the abuse of the rights of Nigerians. We would invoke our powers and involve international human rights bodies to ensure that justice is done.
“We had also said if the petition is found not to be true we would not hesitate to punish the conveyors of the false allegation.
“We would in due course invite all the parties involved including Governor Fayose to appear before us to state their sides of the story. I want to restate that we would be fair, but firm”, Angwe said.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Ajayi, who led the government delegation from the state, said the Ekiti government has respect for the NHRC as a statutory body established for the protection of human rights.
“We, as a government, cannot fold our hands when we are being accused of abuse of human rights abuses, we therefore wish to respond to the allegation that there are serious human rights abuses in Ekiti.
“If the opposition is sincere, they would have attested to the fact the Ekiti State has been one of the most peaceful states in the federation.
“Harly had the new government of Dr. Fayose settled down, when petitions started pouring in concerning flagrant infractions of fundamental rights, abuse of office and injustice meted out to people in Ekiti State while the Government of Kayode Fayemi held sway.
“Notable among these incidents is the case of the alleged murder of one Ayodele Ogudu Jeje by the State Chairman of the APC, Chief Jide Awe and his cohorts on March 30th, 2013 at Erijiyan Ekiti. The police investigated the matter and indicted the suspect and four others and charged them to court for prosecution.
“Surprisingly the government of Kayode Fayemi using his Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Wale Fapohunda frustrated justice by filing a nolle prosequi against all the suspects on February 11th, 2014”, Ajayi said.