Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pa­rade un­nec­es­sary where wit­ness knew sus­pect

Daily Trust - - LAW REPORT -


The con­tention by the ap­pel­lant is that sec­tions 174 and 211 have clearly de­fined the pow­ers of the At­tor­ney - Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and that of the State re­spec­tively and the en­act­ment un­der which the ap­pel­lant and the co - ac­cused were charged is a federal en­act­ment or an Act of the Na­tional As­sem­bly: con­se­quently the Rob­bery and Firearms (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act does not fall within the purview of the pow­ers con­ferred on a State At­tor­ney - Gen­eral to pur­port to file in­for­ma­tion for the pur­pose of pros­e­cut­ing an of­fender against the Act and sec­tion 9(2) of the Rob­berry and Firearms (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act which al­lows the State At­tor­ney - Gen­eral to pros­e­cute for of­fences un­der the Act is in­con­sis­tent with the Con­sti­tu­tion which is the grund­norm and by virtue of sec­tion 9(3) of the said Con­sti­tu­tion, it should be de­clared null and void.

The Rob­bery and Firearms (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act, 1990 gives power to the State At­tor­ney - Gen­eral to in­sti­tute pro­ceed­ings in re­spect of the of­fences cre­ated by the Act. Sec­tion 9(2) of the Act specif­i­cally pro­vides as fol­lows:

“9(2) Prose­cu­tion of of­fences un­der this Act shall be in­sti­tuted by the At­tor­ney - Gen­eral of the State or where there is no At­tor­ney - Gen­eral, the So­lic­i­tor - Gen­eral of the State in re­spect of which the tri­bunal was con­sti­tuted or by such of­fi­cer in the Min­istry of Jus­tice of that State as the At­tor­ney - Gen­eral or the So­lic­i­tor - Gen­eral as the case may be, may au­tho­rize so to do”.

Learned coun­sel for the ap­pel­lant is aware of this pro­vi­sion; hence the ar­gu­ment that it is in­con­sis­tent with Sec­tion 174 of the Con­sti­tu­tion and the call that the said sec­tion to­gether with Sec­tion 12 of the same Act be de­clared a nul­lity.

The con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the trial of of­fences un­der the Rob­bery and Firearms (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act be­ing un­der­taken by a State At­tor­ney -Gen­eral was set­tled in Emelosu vs State (1988) 2 NWLR (Part 78) 524 (1988) 1 NSCC Vol. 19 page 869 where, a full court was em­pan­elled by the Chief Jus­tice of Nigeria, and the At­tor­ney - Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion was in­vited to make sub­mis­sions on the con­sti­tu­tional point. In that case the ap­pel­lant was charged with, tried and con­victed of the of­fence of armed rob­bery in the Imo State High Court con­trary to Sec­tion 1(2) (a) of the Rob­bery and Firearms (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act No. 47 of 1970 and was sen­tenced to death. The ap­pel­lant ap­pealed to the Court of Ap­peal, and con­tended that the of­fences cre­ated un­der the Rob­bery and Firearms (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act No. 47 of 1970 were Federal Of­fences and that the At­tor­ney - Gen­eral of Imo State lacked the re­quired com­pe­tence to in­sti­tute and pros­e­cute such of­fences with­out the ex­press author­ity of the Federal At­tor­ney - Gen­eral.

To be con­tin­ued

Jus­tice Ku­mai Bayang Akaahs

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