BY AMAKA CHIDUBEM in Port Harcourt•
Rivers State government has raised the alarm over what it described as ‘on-going attempt by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to procure amnesty for criminal murderers’ ahead of the 2019 elections.
This was in statement by the office of the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Emmanuel Aguma on Tuesday, following Governor Nyesom Wike’s earlier discredit to the alleged granting of pardon and amnesty to the gang members of cult leader Don Wanney, who was killed by security operatives in Enugu State after his alleged New Year day massacre of nearly 50 Christian faithful in the state.
The justice commissioner, who raised objections to Gov Okorocha’s amnesty to the criminals, which he described as ill conceived, further directed security operatives in the country to disregard the gesture and continue the haunt for the gang members.
According to Aguma, the Imo State governor had ‘underestimated the scope and extent of the conspiracy’ in granting the criminals amnesty.
“Yesterday, Monday, February 5 2018 a group of those murderous characters led by Emenike Agamu whose criminal alias is General Red Scorpion were seen purportedly surrendering obviously some of their weapons of terror and mass murder at a ceremony in Heroes Square, Owerri, Imo State.
“His Excellency, Rochas Okorocha Governor of Imo State was on hand to receive the said Emenike Agamu alias General Red Scorpion and his murderous gang. Okorocha declared at the ceremony: ‘the state has forgiven them and will subsequently give their names to the Federal Government for Amnesty.
“It is clear from what transpired that His Excellency Governor Wike CON GSSRS was right when he-raised the alarm but only underestimated the scope and extent of the conspiracy. Legally, and that is our main concern, the general public is invited to note the following facts:
- “1. From the widely reported news coverage of the event, His Excellency, Governor Rochas Okorocha did not grant AMNESTY to the wanted criminal gang members. He merely said that, “ he will give their names to the Federal Government for Amnesty”,
- “2. Governor Okorocha, in doing so, has implicitly recognised that by the provisions of section 212 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, the Governor of Imo State has no Constitutional power to grant amnesty to any person for an offence committed in Rivers State. Governor Okorocha can only grant amnesty with regard to offences created by the House of Assembly of Imo State.
- “3. By section 1 of the constitution of the Federal Republic or Nigeria 1999, as amended, the President can only grant amnesty with regard to offences created by an Act of the National Assembly.
- “4. The persons declared wanted by the Government of Rivers State acting in concert with the Security Agencies are wanted in relation to offences created by the Rivers State House of Assembly such as Murder, Robbery, Rape, Kidnapping and cultism. The offences were committed in Rivers State. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not have the constitutional right to grant amnesty for such offences.
- “5. The persons declared wanted by the Government of Rivers State acting in concert with the Security Agencies including Emenike Agamu alias Red Scorpion remain WANTED to answer for the heinous offences they committed in Rivers State and in contravention of laws created by the House of Assembly of Rivers State. The N20, 000,000.00 (twenty million Naira) reward for information leading to the arrest of each of them remains in place.
- “6. Emenike Agamu, alias General Red Scorpion and his gang are not the beneficiaries of any Amnesty be it that of I mo State or the Federal Government. Governor Okorocha in his own words merely forgave them – an act that is biblical but has no place in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
- “7.The security agencies are advised to disregard the whole ceremony in Owerri as a legally ineffective charade. The security agencies can arrest these criminals anywhere they are found for the purpose of their being brought to trial in Rivers State.