-Lambasts Imo lawmakers, executive 

By Martin Opara

A former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Imo State, Prof. F.C. Dike (SAN), has faulted the Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2 of 2020 which empowers the Governor to arrest suspects at his pleasure and cause them to be detained in such places and under such condition as he deems necessary. Those detained under the obnoxious law, will also considered to be in legal custody and can only be released if granted licence by the governor.

The revered legal luminary who sought answers to some nagging question about the law, berated members of the state legislature for exhibiting irritating docility and inability to protect the state and her citizens from executive lawlessness and rascality.

He also said that, “members of the House of Assembly have by this, made themselves prone to accusation of being functional illiterates. Besides, this law will die a hard death before the courts”.

Prof. Dike who wondered “if the governor read through the draft bill before signing it into law, asked, will a person detained under the said law be kept in police or prison custody? “In such case, the agency will be sued for wrongful arrest. What will be the charge supporting the arrest and order for detention? Should detention at the governor’s pleasure be recorded in their books and will the detainee be recorded by the courts as “detained at governor’s pleasure?” 

“This contraption is a disgrace to the republican Igbo race, as no law or constitution anywhere in the world gives the governor power to arrest, and/or detain”.

Reacting to a statement credited to the Imo State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Information, Barr Ezerioha, Prof Dike’s said”Please dont gloss the law. Its elementary that the Governor can assent or refuse to sign a bill if he doesn’t agree with the provisions. Buhari at national level does so now and again.

Are you saying the Governor did not read it before signing a law that you or any other person in Imo including the Speaker and his Deputy can be detained at the Governor’s pleasure. 

Have you as Rt Hon Barr considered the confusion in thought the offensive sections pose?

Is the detainee to be kept in a Federal agency custody such as Police or Prison? In such case the agency can be sued personally for wrongful arrest. What will be the charge supporting the arrest and order for detention? Should ”detention at Governor’s pleasure” be recorded in their books?

Will the detainee be recorded by the Courts as “detained at Governor’s pleasure?”

Please kindly advise your peers that this contraption is a disgrace to the republican Ibo race. Even Rochas never thought of detaining anyone at his pleasure. 

On 15 June 1215 Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede. 805 years after we are confronted with  the grievances of  Magna Carta —- arbitrary exercise of power (sorry I mean ‘perceived power’ as no law or Constitution gives the Governor power to arrest and/or detain).

The members of House of Assembly have opened themselves to accusation of being function illiterates. The House protects the State from executive lawlessness not for them to collude or procure executive lawlessness as in this case. They’ve only succeeded in beating about the bush in this case  as this law will die a hard death before the courts”.

The erudite Professor’s position on the controversial law, gives credence to the widespread condemnation  that has trailed the obnoxious law from the moment it was assented to by the Governor.

Imo indigenes and residents at home and in the Diaspora who have individually and collectively expressed disgust at the law, have kept wondering what motivated the enactment of the law which, they perceive as a prelude to anarchy and despotism in a democratic dispensation.