The Imo State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Judiciary and Information, Hon Dominic Ezerioha, has cleared the air on the controversial sections 484 and 485 of the Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
In a telephone chat with News Echo he declared that the Assembly passed the Bill as it is and that nothing was smuggled in by anybody. He advised that the Imo governor and the Attorney-General should be left out of the matter.
It would be recalled that since last week the media space has been awash with claims that section 484 was smuggled into the ACJL . This has attracted wide spread condemnation from all corners with politicians throwing mud at each other and striving to make a political capital out of it.
On the accusation that his house members are behind the issue for not admitting as he has done, he stated thus, “well I don’t want to be quoted in another form. It will be wrong, is unhealthy for any member of the House of Assembly to accuse the general house on issue that they did not do. It is better the House resumes and we bring out documents to show whether or not this thing happened.”
On the contention that the obnoxious clause was smuggled in he said, “nothing was smuggled in. Quote me that I said that the House passed the bill on the 5th of March and it was sent to the Governor and the Governor assented to the bill that makes it a law on the 11th March 2020 and that is the extant criminal law.
“If anybody disagrees let the person come to the floor of the House and bring amendment bill so we can amend any sections if the sections are not proper. That is my position. Quote me, nobody smuggled in anything and quote me also that the governor of Imo State should be removed out of it, the Attorney General should also be removed. They are not legislators, they are executive members.”
In a related development, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Amara Iwuanyanwu had in a release accused the sponsor of the bill Hon Frank Ugboma of playing to the gallery and condemning his position that accused Gov Uzodimma of being responsible.
The reporter however stumbled and glimpsed at a copy of the Assembly’s Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, March 5, 2020 from a legislator who sought anonymity where the Committee of the general house read and passed the Bill after its third reading.
In the said document, we sighted, “invoking Rule 80 (1) ofthe House Rule, Mr Chairman moved to the last three (3) sections of the Bill- Sections. 538, 539, and 540 were agreed. This leaves the mind guessing over the claims by Ugboma that his bill stopped only at section 372. From the Votes and Proceedings,he was in attendance on that day. What could be the reason then that the House members were denying that they didn’t have that Bill? This is the million dollar question.
It is possible that some of these honourable members have lost memory, or did not read the bill at the third stage or simply chose to play mischief and accuse the Governor wrongly or perhaps want to make a political capital of the situation. Your guess is as good as mine.
Hon Ezerioha has agreed to address the Press today on the controversial issue by 1pm.