New Imo criminal justice law is unconstitutional, illegal — HURIWA •Says it gives Governor Uzodinma dictatorial powers

Posted by News Express | 19 September 2020 | 348 times

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•Governor Uzodinma


Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has described the newly passed Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law as unconstitutional and illegal, accusing the state Governor, Mr. Hope Uzodinma, of trying to cripple organised opposition to bad governance. The rights group also expressed the fear that the law would discourage would-be investors from going to the State since economic activities hardly thrive in a dictatorship. 

“The law is to protect thieves in the Imo state government so they can continue to pillage the resources of the State and the intimidated members of the civil society would be too scared to speak so they are not jailed by the blossoming dictator at the Douglas House Owerri,” HURIWA said.

It demanded the immediate repeal of “this draconian legislation which is targeted at whittling down the constitutional principles of separation of powers which are enshrined in Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The rights group also questioned the legality of the new Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, No. 2 of 2020 passed into law by Governor Uzodinma on March 11, 2020, stating that it is not tenable “since it is a blanket attempt by the Executive arm of government to take (over) the duty of the Judiciary in Imo State.”

The rights group said it is incumbent on the State House of Assembly to annul “the rubish legislation" or it would be challenged in the competent court of law since the provisions are contradictory to the clear provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

“We are also very worried and concerned about the highly unconstitutional provisions relating to ‘Pleasure’, permitting the State Governor to detain suspects at his will when there are a plethora of constitutional provisions stipulating the obligations of the Nigerian State not to interfere with the democratic freedoms recognised by the Supreme Law of Nigeria.

“The new Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law in section 484 provides that suspects must obtain license before any release will be made.

Section 484 of the Imo ACJL reads:

‘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.’

“This is highly inflammable and toxic and this and many other irregular provisions must be struck down by the State Assembly or we assure Nigerians that human right practitioners of Imo State origin will head to court soon to invalidate these dictatorial powers conferred on the Governor by the rubber-stamped Imo State House of Assembly which has become Imo State House of Absurdities which is populated by persons with questionable academic credentials.

“We observe that by section 485, the ACJL states that a detainee may only be discharged if granted license by the Governor just as section 485 provides:(1) A person detained during the Governor’s pleasure may at any time be discharged by the Governor on license. This dictator in Douglas House must be contained,” HURIWA affirmed.

In a media statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Ms Zainab Yusuf, the group said it will in the coming days be holding consultative sessions with like-minded civil society stakeholders and civil society leaders to deliberate on what steps to be adopted to confront this aggressive affront to constitutional democracy in Imo State.

Source: News Express

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