Uzodinma signs draconian bill into law, which allows him to detain anyone at his pleasure

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma

The Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma has signed a controversial bill, the Imo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2020, into laws which grants him sweeping powers to detain anyone at his pleasure without the need for a court warrant.

The bill sponsored by the lawmaker representing Oguta state constituency, at the Imo state House of Assembly, Frank Ugboma, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has controversial sections 484 and 485 which provide that the governor may effect such detention notwithstanding the provisions of any other law.

The law signed by Uzodinma recently gives the governor the powers to arrest anyone without a warrant.

Section 484 of the law 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.”

Section 485 provides that such person “detained during the Governor’s pleasure may at any time be discharged by the Governor on license” and that “a license under subsection (1) of this section may be in such form and may contain such conditions as the Governor may direct”.

The section further states that such license “may at anytime be revoked or varied by the Governor”, adding: “Where license has been revoked the person to whom the license relates shall proceed to such place as the Governor may direct and if he fails to do so, may be arrested without warrant and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.”

Lawyers have said the law goes against the 1999 constitution, especially the provisions of sections 34 and 35 of the 1999 constitution, which guarantee the fundamental rights to freedom of liberty and human dignity.

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