By Gurgur Japheth
October 23rd, 2000, Oputa Panel began sitting officially, by February 3rd 2003: IBB got a favourable judgment from the Supreme Court that the Panel had “no powers to summon witnesses outside the Federal Capital Territory” and further “that the 1999 Constitution made no provision for tribunals of inquiry”. Till date, as far as shocking and useful the revelations in the Oputa Panel were, the reports are yet to be published and those indicted are yet to be punished accordingly.
As if the script of IBB versus Okputa Pannel was being mimicked, Justice Iorhemen Hwande in a preliminary order suspended the operations of the both panels pending the determination of the substance of the matter. However, Justice Adam
Onum in her final determination of the matter set aside the order placed on both panels. The Court held that the commission could resume sitting with immediate effect with a caveat that although it has the right to issue letters of summons on individuals, it is not vested with the power to issue a warrant of arrest on anyone or impose a fine (Berger Alfred MO, 2015)
What is not contestable is the facts that maybe contained in the report, and facts do not really need the imprimatur of a judicial panel or judicial commission to be useful in court of law. What is happening to the Dasukigates: Oliseh Metuh, Dokpesi, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi etc is purely based on facts submitted to the EFCC. And so far, Nigerians are happy with the process and proceedings. (more…)