The Justice Samson Uwaifo-led Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the Osun State government in its bid to establish peace, righteousness and justice, has indicted the ousted governor of the state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, accusing him of subjecting the people of the state to brutalization, harassment and trauma in the last seven years of his administration.
Presenting a three-volume report of the commission to the governor of the state, Mr Rauf Aregbesola after seven months of investigation, the chairman of the panel said that the commission also found out that the police and other security operatives were used as agents of dehumanization against those in opposition parties during the regime of Oyinlola.
The commission chairman said that the Oyinlola’s government, according to the findings of the seven-member committee divided the state into two segments, where those who were in support of the then government were shielded and those in opposition were branded the enemies of the government and subjected to harassment.
According to him, the terror and political violence reigned supreme under Oyinlola’s administration, describing the siege laid on the people of the state as unfortunate.
While sympathising with Aregbesola and his supporters for the hell they went through during Oyinlola’s regime, Justice Uwaifo commended the governor for giving the commission free hands to work and made its findings without interfering in the activities of the body.
Warning the present administration of Aregbesola to discourage electoral violence throughout its stay in office, the jurist urged the administration to make serious difference and ensure that the people of the state are reconciled and maintain peace in the state.
In his speech, Aregbesola stated that his government would follow the recommendations of the commission to the letter, saying that “where sanctions are necessary, we will not hesitate to apply them and where restitution is desired, we will apply it”.
According to him, “what is undeniable was that prior to the coming into office of our administration, the state was under the siege of terror and we met records that between 2003 and 2010, there were massive abuse of human rights. Inspite of all these, we cannot pretend that all is well”.
The governor, who recalled the attack on him and his supporters, particularly women, who were stripped naked by the agents of the then government, especially on August 5, 2006 at Oroki Day celebration, noted how many people were killed and many other injured during the April 14, 2007 election.
“Could anyone forget that one of our leading financiers, Hassan Olajoku was brutally murdered at Gbongan Junction on May 15, 2005 before his two teenage daughters? There are countless others, who were taken out of the comfort of their homes to be murdered, many were illegally detained, harassed and threatened. Many were forced to evacuate their families and proceed on involuntary exile.
“Can we so soon forget how the frontline industrialist in Osun, Chief Ade Komolafe was beaten to death at a filling station in Ilesa by a PDP local government chairman-led squad? Can we also forget how a teenage girl was tied to a tree and gang-raped in broad daylight by PDP chieftains in Ilesa. We could not forget that Ayo Oni was killed in Igbajo, Saheed was killed in Ikirun, Solomon was killed in Ife and several others were killed across the state.
Identifying the basis for the setting up of the commission, the governor said that he was guided by Section 2 (1) of the Commission of Enquiry Law of the state, with a view to searching for and identify the nature of the discontent in the state, identify the grievances and the remote, as well as immediate causes, which has given rise to assault and gross violation of human rights of the people of the state.
He added that the commission was also aimed at identifying the persons or authorities, institution or organization, which might be held accountable for the gross violation of human rights, as well as examining the extent of the damage that had been done to the people.
Aregbesola added that the committee was billed to examine and advise the government on the way to bringing peace among all concerned, for them to receive any legitimate financial or other assistance from whatever source, as well as recommending measures either judicial or administrative to redress the injustice of the past and prevent future occurrence.
Noting that the commission was not meant to harass, manhunt or suppress anybody, the governor said that it was to ensure peace and stability and reconcile the people, just as he stated that his administration would not rest in its oars in the bid to establish peace, justice and righteousness.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Special Needs, Mr Ajibola Basiru said that all members of the commission had proved themselves as persons of impeccable characters, saying that the setting up of the commission was not by accident, but as part of the Six-point Integral Action Plan of the present administrator on the need to promote communal peace and stability.
He lauded members of the commission for the good job done, stating that they have all once again proved themselves as people who have credibility.