Musa Na Allah Sokoto
Sokoto State Commission of Inquiry on the disposal, and donation government of assets and Other paraphernalia may Invite the former Governor of the state Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to testify if the situation or condition warrants.
The Commission chairman retired former chief judge justice Mu’azu Abdulkadir Pindiga stated this while answering the question from our correspondent in Sokoto on whether the Commission has the prerogative powers to invite the former Governor on matters presented before them.
He said, the commission will invite any citizen of the state to make testimony before provided there is a memorandum or complaint written against him and brought before it.
“We have the authority and powers to arrest and detain anybody who tries to undermine the powers of the commission based on the law of the state and the 1999 constitutions of the federal republic Nigeria as amended.
“We will equally deal decisively with anyone who chooses to a false information to the commission, “We will commence sitting at 11 am every day including weekends” — says Pindiga
According to him, the commission will be fair and just to all matters before it, as it will not be used as a yardstick to witchhunt anybody, but the law will take its cause on anyone found wanting during its assignment.
“You may recall that on the 13th of July, I and other members of this Commission were sworn in and inaugurated by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Sokoto State, Alh. Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, you may also recall that upon our inauguration we were given a period of two months from the date of our first sitting within which to carry out our assignment and to submit our report to the Government.
“We have since our inauguration commenced activities towards the execution of our mandate by taking steps as would ensure a seamless, diligent, and fair execution of our responsibility”.
Justice Pindiga further stated that the task assigned to the Commission is simple and complex, simple because it is backed by the provisions of the Laws of Sokoto State; and complex because of the nature of inquiry required. Notwithstanding the simplicity and complexity of our task, it is a task that we will not lightly undertake and will as well we would diligently pursue to the best of our ability.
The Terms of Reference under which the commission will operate are, to examine the Sales and Auctions of Government Assets including; All official vehicles of State and Local Governments, all Plants and Machineries of State and Local Governments, donations and gifts of Government Assets, to ascertain the Government Bank Account and amount realized from the Sales and Auctions of government assets and Examine the various allocations of lands throughout the state
Others are plots of land allocated to individuals and bodies of persons whether corporate or unincorporated in the Sokoto new city, all carved-out plots, and all Government houses sold or auctioned, to ascertain the Government Bank Account and the amount realized from the Sales and Auctions of government houses and to do any other thing that is deemed relevant and necessary for the discharge of commissions assignment.
“I want on behalf of all members/commissioners of this commission assure the citizens and good people of Sokoto State on whose mandate we sit that we will not fail you in carrying out the responsibility you assigned us fairly, diligently, and with the fear of God. We are not out to witch-hunt, hound, or paint anyone black. We are simply out to unearth the truth regarding our referred terms and to give recommendations as we, in our fallible human nature, find appropriate but in accordance with the law”.
“Let me state that section 7 of the Commissions of Inquiry Law has vested in us the power to procure and require all such evidence, written or oral; to examine witnesses; to enter upon any land; to summon witnesses; and to do any other thing that is necessary or conducive to the attainment of the objectives of the inquiry. In this regard, therefore, anyone appearing before the Commission does so as a “witness” and not as a suspect, accused, or defendant.
“It is important to mention that in addition to the powers cited above, the Commission has also been vested with the power to direct arrest and detention of willful or neglected failure to respond to its invitation and summonses. Similarly, the Commission has been vested with the power to deal with persons who give false evidence before it”.
“We will commence our inquiry on the 7th of August 2023 after perfecting our processes. Thereafter, the Commission will sit daily, including on Saturdays, and will on each sitting take as many witnesses or carry out visits as the circumstances demand and permit. We count on each and every citizen to assist in making the work of this Commission a success. We equally count on members of the press in ensuring adequate coverage of the Commission’s activities,” Pindiga concluded.