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Peter Odili Appears at the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission

By Ashimole Felix.
 June 23rd, 2008, 6:00a.m EST

Sir Peter Odili, one time governor of Rivers State 1999-2007, made himself available to adopt the written submission by his Counsel Ifedayo Adedipe SAN to the Justice Eso led Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The RTC had to relocate to Abuja, to enable Sir Odili and Sekibo to testify. The duo had cited security reasons for their inability to attend the sitting of the TRC in Port Harcourt.

Earlier testifiers, had insinuated that Sir Peter Odili was responsible for the death of Harry Marshal and Chief A.K. Dikibo. The weightiest of these testifiers, is Asari Dokubo. Asari Dokubo was the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Front, the forerunner of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND). Asari after a long sojourn awaiting trial, claims he is born again and has shunned violence.

While he reigned, he was a terror and the twin names of Asari and Ateke Tom is synonymous to evil in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

According to Sir Peter Odili, he first met the duo of Asari and Ateke on October 1st 2004 at the Presidential Villa, after he was summoned by the then president. Odili denied belonging and sponsoring any cult group and challenged anybody with contrary evidence to step forward.

According to Odili, there was an apex group made up of 16 members, which included Rotimi Ameachi the present governor; Celestine Omehia; the two past PDP chairmen of the state. Each had a free hand to control any organization that was used in his area to mobilize for PDP.

Sir Peter Odili, swearing in the name of God, denied any knowledge of the death of both Harry Marshal and Dikibo. In AsariĘs testimony reported in National dailies, Asari said he was told that Odili was responsible for the death. Asari's testimony was based on hear say and Asari's belief. Asari never made known the names of those from whom he heard that Odili was responsible for the death. Odili, also threw an open challenge to the whole world to come up with evidence of embezzlement by him or his administration.

In a rapid departure from the testimony, Sir Odili indicted the Chairman of the commission of bias, rhetorically asking if he can get justice from a panel headed by Justice Eso. This indictment was a reference to the opening speech of Justice Eso to the effect that he used the instrumentalities of the law to frustrate prosecution.

In response to questions from the counsel to the TRC Chima Bovis, Odili reasserted that there was no need to use cultists in the 2003 election as there was no credible opposition in Rivers State.

Throughout the lengthy denial, Odili appeared well schooled in the act of cross examination and made a mice meat of the accusations. Sir Peter Odili's wife, Mary Odili, is a Justice of the Court of Appeal Abuja division.



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