By Martin Opara
As the raging controversy surrounding the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice ACJ Law, that allegedly vests sweeping powers on the Governor, to arrest and detain suspects at his pleasure, in places and under conditions and circumstances he deems fit, lingers, without delay Prof. Nnamdi Obiareri, a renowned Law teacher at the Imo State University, (IMSU), Owerri, insists that the controversial sections should be revisited within detain.
He acknowledged that the law is indeed a good one, considering some of it’s provisions but maintained that Sections 484-485 should be revisited with a view to amend or expunge some wordings that make it ambiguous.
The erudite lawyer, administrator and erstwhile honourable commissioner of Youths and sports in the state, expressed this view in a release he signed and made available to Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper.
He noted with dismay that, “throughout the gamut of the ISACJL, 2020 and particularly chapter 38, no reference was made to who will make the said “order” and to what class of offences the said order of detention at the Governor’s pleasure will be made and under what law such contemplated offences are created”.
The erudite Professor of Law, took exception to the porous, blank and open ended manner disputed provisions of chapter 38 were enacted which makes it ambiguous and prone to abuse and/or “being turned into a tool of oppression, repression and vendetta, hence the early warning and overwhelming condemnation and public outcry that has trailed it”.
Prof. Obiareri further stated that it is disturbing that some members of the state legislature have publicly said that they are not aware of the passage of sections 484 and 485 of the law as they were not in the original draft that deliberated on in the hallowed chambers.
According to him, “Nigeria is practicing constitutional democracy. It is therefore wrong for the executive or judiciary to unduly interfere in lawmaking. It is fraudulent for anybody to import any section or change even a word in bill a passed by the State Assembly without approval or consent of the latter”.
He noted that, inspite of all the expressed reservations about the controversial sections 484 and 485, that should be repealed, retouched and reenacted, the law, generally speaking, is a good one, as it has abrogated the arrest of a father or mother in place of their son or daughter that is wanted for committing a crime and the indefinite detention of suspects on the basis of argument in respect of a court having or lacking jurisdiction to hear a matter brought before it.
As it is now, the new law has made it possible for a suspect to be granted bail if he/she fulfils the conditions for bail, whether or not the court has jurisdiction to handle the matter.