REIGNERS TRAGEDY: ACTIVIST DEMANDS RELEASE OF COMMISION’S REPORT, WHITE PAPER
-may drag Akwa Ibom Govt to court
Legal luminary, Inibehe Effiong Esq., has requested for the immediate release of the report and white paper of the Commission of Inquiry into the Reigners Bible Church’s fatal tragedy which took place on December 10, 2016.
Effiong, who is the Principal Counsel of the Inibehe Effiong Chambers, a Law firm domiciled in Uyo and Lagos, made the requests in a letter dated 26th February, 2018, addressed to the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko.
While divulging that his demands are pursuant to Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, decried that “despite the fact that the Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the governor on 5th July, 2017, upon the conclusion of its assignment, the Akwa Ibom State Government and your office in particular, have refused, neglected or failed to publish the said report despite persistent agitation by the people of Akwa Ibom State and other concerned Nigerians for the publication of the report.”
He stressed that the continued hoarding of the documents “is offensive to the memories of the dead victims of the collapsed building”, adding that, “this secretive disposition by the state government betrays the very purpose for which the Commission of Inquiry was empanelled and evinces either an apparent compromise cum lack of political will or conflict of interest or both on the part of the state government.”
Effiong frowned at a statement credited to Information Commissioner, Mr. Charles Udoh, who claimed that the Attorney General has been mandated by Governor Udom Emmanuel to commence prosecution of persons found culpable by the Commission of Inquiry. He said such statement coming when the report is yet to be made public is “not only intolerable but antithetical to the principles of open governance, democracy and open governance.”
Barr. Effiong however warned that “if you (Attorney General) fail, refuse or neglect to furnish me with the two records stated herein within 7 days of receiving this application, I shall commence legal proceedings at the High Court to compel you to do so.”
He added that “wrongful denial of access to these public records is a criminal offense under Section 7 (5) which may render you (Attorney General) liable to criminal prosecution.”
By Ofonime Honesty