- Members of Imo State House of Assembly are not unanimous in their defence of the new law
BY RACHEL AMADI
Members of the Imo State House of Assembly are singing discordant tunes over the controversial Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law No 2 of 2020.
Section 484 of the law states: “Where any person is ordered to be detained during the Governor’s pleasure he shall notwithstanding anything in this Law or in any other written law contained be liable to be detained in such place and under such conditions as the Governor may direct and whilst so detained shall be deemed to be in the legal custody”
The law provides that a detainee may only be discharged if granted license by the Governor of the State.
Widespread reactions has trailed the new law, with members of the state House of Assembly coming on the firing range from Critics.
Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu (APC, Nwangele), defended the law
“Governor Hope Uzodinma assented to the law in March 2020 and as such its resurrection by an online tabloid is an ignorance of the law by the online outfit which published it” part of his statement stated
“For emphasis, the law in question was not an executive bill.What is more it has been in existence for six months now and there is absolutely no evidence of executive abuse. Those making a mountain out of a molehills should advise themselves accordingly.
“Leave the Executive Governor Senator Hope Uzodinma out of this attempt to score cheap popularity” the Deputy Speaker stated.
The sponsor of the bill and Deputy Minority Leader, Frank Ugboma, (Oguta, PDP), said he is not aware of some sections of the law, alleging that it was smuggled.
In a statement he signed, he wrote “For the avoidance of doubt, the Bill I presented had about a total of 372 Sections.
“How and where it was amended, recreated and reshaped into Section 484 and beyond remains a mystery and a legislative wonder of our time as what I presented and circulated to my colleagues during plenary, both in the First and Second readings did not contain such obnoxious and embarrassing Section 484. Neither was it deliberated in the House Committee of the whole. It indeed never existed in the House.
Minority leader of the House, Hon. Barr Anyadike Nwosu in a statement wrote “The Administration of Criminal justice law (ACJC) was a private bill sponsored by the Honourable member representing Oguta state constituency (Hon. Frank Ugboma), which was introduced during former Governor Ihedioha tenure with the best of intentions.
“The processing lingered until its eventual passage into law at first quarter of this year 2020 under Senator Hope Uzodinma, the Governor.
“What beggers belief is how a particularly obnoxious and offensive section (chapter 13) (section 484) and section 485, was contemptoulsy smuggled into this law, a development which has ruffled feathers and created an atompshere of discontent in the state
“This section is not only repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience but portray this law as draconian and anti people”
The lawmaker claimed that “the original bill shared to our colleagues at the plenary, the above contentious section was not contained in the original bill.
Member representing Owerri Municipal state constituency, Hon Solomn Anukam, in a statement seen by INNONEWS, partly wrote “I am not sure that I saw, read or heard about these obviously offensive, undemocratic and unconstitutional provisions of this law as is currently being highlighted by concerned public
“I make bold and quick to concede to the incorrectedness and unconstitutionality of the offensive provisions under the said section 484 and 485.
The House of Assembly is currently on recess. The Speaker, Chiji Collins, is yet to officially react to law.