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I've no hand in Harry, Dikibo's killings — Odili

Posted by Vanguard on 2008/06/18 | Views: 1908 |

I've no hand in Harry, Dikibo's killings — Odili


FORMER Rivers Governor, Dr Peter Odili, yesterday swore before the State Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Abuja that he had no hand in the murder of the prominent citizens of the state, Dr. Marshall Harry and Chief A.K. Dikibo.

RIVERS TRUTH COMMISSION

FORMER Rivers Governor, Dr Peter Odili, yesterday swore before the State Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Abuja that he had no hand in the murder of the prominent citizens of the state, Dr. Marshall Harry and Chief A.K. Dikibo.

He asked his Creator to visit him "with clear and appropriate punishment" if lied on the matter, and dismissed suggestions that he sponsored violence and cult-related activities.
Odili served as governor from May 1999 to May 2007.

Odili had earlier adopted his written submission in defence of allegations levelled at him by persons and communities during the commission’s sitting in Port Harcourt. He also made a 56-minute preliminary remark before his cross examination.

Odili, who referred to a convocation lecture by Justice Kayode Eso, Chairman of the Commission at the University of Port Harcourt, shortly before the inauguration of the commission, expressed doubt if it would be safe for him to appear before the retired jurist. He said Eso had referred to a state governor who had filed a suit in court to restrain the EFCC from arresting and investigating him for reportedly looting the state treasury.

That lecture, Odili noted, also reportedly condemned the use of thugs and cults by the political elite to harass and intimidate the electorate to achieve electoral victory.

"My Lord, you were referring to me. I am concerned about it. I was the only governor who took the EFCC to court. Should I really be appearing before you?’’ Odili asked and the audience shouted a loud "no."

He said he never was a cult member, never knew of any cult nor encouraged, supported or financed any cult and would never do that.

Odili also denied ever arming any person or group to cause violence or mobilise support to achieve
electoral victory for himself and the PDP, either in 1999, 2003 or 2007 general elections in the state.

He said it would be unthinkable for a responsible family man, a doctor of repute, a self-fulfilled and contented person like him to promote violence or arm the youth to disturb the peace and security of a state.

He used the platform to list the achievements of his administration, including physical infrastructure development. He said his administration built and rebuilt schools, hospitals and roads, in addition to developing other facilities to promote the well-being of Rivers people.

Odili said he first met Asari Dokubo and Tom Ateke, leaders of two of the militant groups in the Niger Delta, at a meeting convoked at the Aso Rock Villa on October 1, 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to discuss security in the state.He said the meeting was a fallout of a serious security breach in the state in September 2004.

"That violence was very unusual. It was unique, it was isolated, it was massive and unprecedented," Odili said.

Advocating a way out of the restiveness in the region, Odili pushed for massive development of infrastructure in the delta areas, which have peculiar difficult terrain.

He also called for true fiscal federalism, a leadership with focus on human and capital development and which would show genuine concern for true peace.

According to him, there will also be the need for genuine respect of the rule of law and due process.

Odili arrived at the commission’s venue in company of Sir Celestine Omehia; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Austin Opara; and former Transport Minister, Dr Abiye Sekibo.

Eso said at the opening of the sitting that the commission temporarily relocated to Abuja to enable Odili and the group make their presentations.

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