The House of Representatives during its plenary session on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 entertained a motion moved by Hon. Betty Apiafi and 15 others over the action of the Executive Governor and Government of Imo State who was alleged to have granted amnesty to certain individuals who surrendered to the State as ex-militants after being accused of perpetrating the New Year Day killings in Rivers State and declared wanted by the Rivers State Security Council. The Honorable members rejected this sort of pardon for criminals on the ground that it would rather engender acrimony and bad precedence when people believed to be murderers are allowed to escape the weight of the law.
The lawmakers were disturbed that even in the face of daunting challenges of insecurity across the federation a State Government could purport to grant amnesty to persons who were on wanted list of the security council of another state. They implored the Chambers to condemn the move and urged the Federal Government and the various law enforcement agencies not to acknowledge the amnesty so granted, adding that the Federal Government should ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the wanted persons.
However, Hon. Nnana Igbokwe raised a point of constitutional order, contesting the jurisdiction of the federal House to deliberate on the matter, which he said was an issue affecting two States. While insisting that it did not fall within the purview of the House to debate issues involving the activities of State Government, he drew the attention of the House to Section 212 of the 1999 constitution, which he said conferred on the Governor the prerogative of mercy, opining that what Governor Okorocha of Imo State did was not against the law.
"It was up to Rivers state to appeal the matter in court and not for the House of Representatives to decide" he submitted.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara directed the Chairmen of Ethics and Privileges, National Security and Public Safety, and Judiciary Committees, to look into the matter and report back to the House in one week, in order to allow the House assume an informed position on the matter.