Identification parade unnecessary where witness knew suspect
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