How Uzodinma’s obnoxious section 484 and 485 legalized State sponsored kidnapping
By Onwuasoanya F Jones
When Johnbull Chikwe wrote that the obnoxious section of that ACJL might have been smuggled into that law without the knowledge of most house members, many thought he was been too harsh on the governor and the Speaker of the House of Assembly and some readers dismissed that probability as purely improbable. “How could you accuse a sitting governor of forgery and the Speaker of the House of Assembly as been accessory to such criminality?”, one commentator queried. But, few hours after that article, two prominent members of the House of Assembly, including the Chief sponsor of the bill have come out to disown those sections in the newly domesticated ACJL. Is anything left to be proved that we have a governor, a Speaker of the House of Assembly and probably, a Commissioner for Justice who consider nothing too sacred to be forged, mutilated or inserted? Is it not clear yet that a Hope Uzodimma is the most disastrous thing to happen to governance anywhere in the world, and the worst advertisement to my Party, the APC? If a governor could forge a section of a law with the belief, maybe, that it would not be noticed, then, how are we sure that the same governor would not sell off our State to the highest bidders or even for some pants or bottles of champagne?
It is not just the felony of a governor , maybe, acting in cahoots with the Speaker, mutilated a body of our law that bothers me most, but the aim of that mutilation in itself. Reread that reprehensible section of that law again and you would not be confused about the sad fact that our governor actually legalized State sponsored kidnapping through that law.
That section did not mention any of the known law enforcement agencies as the arresting authority, but rather made a vague provision that someone may be detained at the pleasure of the governor. This implies that anyone could actually be empowered by the governor to effect that arrest. It could be Chinasa, it could be Akaolisa, it could be Anyaehie, and it could be any thug or aide whom the governor feels can carry out that assignment.
The obnoxious provision goes further to say that the detained person may be kept in any place and under any condition which the governor directs. This is more like the code by which kidnap kingpins operate. You could be picked up anywhere, anytime and kept in any place or in any condition that the kingpin deems appropriate.
The law did not even provide for what infractions the governor may be at pleasure to order someone’s detention. It could be for anything as bad as asking that the governor pays civil servants their entitlements and stop defrauding them by selectively paying them or something as obvious as, calling the governor, the Ben Johnson of Nigerian politics. It could be for holding a legitimate aspiration to run for an election in the State or to freely associate with legitimate political organizations, it could even be for deciding to go to school or attend church service. It could be for admiring a beautiful woman, whom coincidentally, the governor fancies.
The vacuousness of these sections of the law is further accentuated by the provision making it that the only way, such a detainee may be released is by getting a license from the governor. This license may be likened to paying ransom for a kidnapped victim. And by that airheaded provision, the license will be provisional and could be revoked at any time. By this, the governor’s hostages would never be free. The license would contain some provisions that would eternally deprive such victim of his or her basic rights to freedom. So, once detained at the governor’s pleasure, you remain a slave to the governor, perpetually.
There is also another silly provision in that law, which authorizes the governor to banish such individual should they default on the terms of their ‘release licences’. This may sound too stupid to be true, so I will republish it here as written in that law;
“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.”
One could see clearly that Imo has a governor who is dreaming his dreams, backwards. I do not know why and how a governor in this 21st century could imagine that such an anachronistic law could be implemented in Imo of all places. This is most disrespectful to the sensibilities of average Imolites; renowned for their intellectualism, political awareness, stubbornness and exposure, to be governed at this time by a man, whose brain ticks backwards, whose ideas are so off-cue that one would wonder where he came from. Even the most excoriated despots in history operated with some level of subtlety, but this Uzodimma’s law is too direct in its silliness as it is too bluntly insuperable. An analogue scammer could only be smart by half in this age of cheetah speed technology. Shouldn’t he upgrade?
I have read some apologists of the governor arguing that the entire blame for this embarrassing piece of legislation should be placed at the doorsteps of our legislators, but that is as silly as any argument could be. Even without having heard from any of the legislators, Johnbull correctly predicted that they couldn’t have been part of it. But, even they were, shouldn’t the governor have read what he signed? Assuming we had 27 idiots in the House of Assembly, who passed this piece of nonsense as law, shouldn’t the governor had withheld consent, if he he wanted to make the slightest pretence to understanding the simplest tenets of democracy? But the members of the House have come out to denounce this lawlessness passed off as law and we cannot but be rest assured that those offensive sections will be extracted and thrown into the pit latrine in Omuma, maybe, with its initiator. If Chief Kennedy Ibeh, who could easily pass as a conservative politician has disowned that provision in the law and even revealed that the bill did not go through public hearing as demanded by legislative procedures, I would wholly place the legislative fluff on the smuttily swollen Chiji, whom I hope to someday in the future, talk more about, as someone who has so quickly garnered a sad reputation for being tainted by certificate scandals and being so unsure of himself that he would be ready to clean the governor’s shoes every morning and lick Chioma’s spittles every evening, in order, in his own unfortunate understanding, to safeguard his Spattership.
Let me sign out by commending the eminent and profoundly cerebral, yet socially and politically vibrant professor of law, Chief Nnamdi Obiaraeri, for digging this fraud up and bringing same to public attention. Maybe, without his diligent research on this issue, we would have continued with our lives, without knowing that a chain of slavery is already on our necks and ankles. May more of the Obiaraeris happen to Imo State, Amen.
Imo will win!