The Deputy Minority Leader, Imo State House of Assembly Hon. Frank Ugboma has said the controversial Section 484 of the Imo State Adminstration of Justice Law (ACJL) was smuggled into the Law after the review by the House.
According to a statement issued by Hon. Ugboma, the provision of section 484 of the Imo Administration of Criminal Justice Law came as a rude shock as the section was not originally included in the draft bill passed by the House.
The Section which purports to provide for a person to be detained during the pleasure of the Governor provides :
“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 legal custody”.
while Section 485 provides:
(1) A person detained during the Governor’s pleasure may at any time be discharged by the Governor on license
(2) A license under subsection (1) of this section may be in such form and may contain such conditions as the Governor may direct.
(3) A license under this section may at anytime be revoked or varied by the Governor and where license has been revoked the person to whom the license relates shall proceed to such place as the Governor may direct and if he fails to do so, may be arrested without warrant and taken to such place.
Some Sections in the recently gazetted ACJL came to me with rude shock.
As the Chief Sponsor of the Bill, I have had cause to search through all the documents that cumulated into the Bill. I must say that I have done this repeatedly and have equally taken further pains in reaching out to my colleagues in the House. I must admit that they have each expressed shock over the sudden obnoxious sections of the Law more particularly Section 484 of the said ACJL of Imo State.
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.
No one has been able to explain to the members of the 9th House how and at what stage the said Section 484 was inserted into the Bill. It smacks of an evil manipulation to throw Imo people into the dungeon.
As a Lawyer, I have had cause to fight against such obnoxious laws and as an activist there is no way this section would have scaled through plenary in the 9th House which I am part of. All of us are already available victims of this obnoxious sections. Not even those who practiced this calculated affront on the Constitution are exempted.
This particular provision is a nullity ab initio in view of the unambiguous provisions of sections 1(1),(3),4,5,6 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as Amended).
This is very appalling.
In my quest to ascertain which hands of Esau made it into the Bill I presented, attention was drawn to a list said to be the names of Imo people that facilitated the domestication of the Law in the State. It need not be overemphasized that in lawmaking, such contributions and or inputs from members of the public are usually submitted to the House for deliberations. I am however saddened that there is no record of presentation of such obnoxious contributions to the House. There is no record anywhere that such contributions was laid and/or circulated to members during plenary.
I have requested that my colleagues constitute a committee to ascertain how such horrendous act was practiced on this ordinarily good legislation. Its outcome, I believe would interest all lovers of democracy and enable future legislative vigilance.
This was not the Bill I presented and sponsored.
In the manuscripts that I received after each hearing and which I have today compared with that given to my colleagues, there is no hand of Esau. This has informed my view and I have today forwarded a Bill for the immediate amendment of those offensive and draconian sections.
Hon (Barr) Frank Ugboma