Lawmaker withdraws proposed bill to jail ‘unlawful’ protesters

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A proposed bill in the House of Representatives seeking a 5-year jail term for protesters has been withdrawn by the sponsor. Hon. Emeka Chinedu. 

Chinedu disclosed the formal withdrawal of the bill in a letter read by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila at Tuesday plenary. 

In the letter written to the house, the lawmaker argued that the bill was not accurately reported and he was not seeking to jail protesters. 

Acknowledging receipt of the letter, the Speaker said “It is your prerogative. the bill is hereby withdrawn.” 

The letter titled, ‘Withdrawal of my bill presented on July 6th, 2021’ read:

I write to inform you about my decision to withdraw the Bill that seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act Cap 38, s of the Federation, 1990. 

My resolve to withdraw the Bill that passed First Reading on 6th of July, 2021, is due to the way and manner my well-intended action to prevent untimely death of innocent. Nigerians through mob-action (Jungle Justice) is generating controversies across the Country. 

Unfortunately, the unending controversy is a product of a wrong narrative that was shaped by an equally misleading caption to wit. “NIGERIAN LAWMAKERS PROPOSE TO JAIL PROTESTERS FOR 5 YEARS”. 

It is worthy of note, that your timely intervention during the plenary on the following day, where I made effort to clear the air under personal explanation, did not help matters, reason being that, it was already hijacked by mischief makers with the intent to heat up the polity. 

As a democrat whose ideology and preference is rooted on a society that is devoid of controversy, and after due consultation with my constituents, I crave your indulgence for the Bill to be withdrawn forthwith 

While thanking you in anticipation of your kind understanding. Mr. Speaker, accept the assurances of my highest esteem.

The controversial bill had stirred outrage from Nigerians, who have been more conscious and willing to express their grievances with the government through protests. 

The bill, entitled ‘’An ACT  to amend the Criminal Code Act, CAP 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to further preserve the sanctity of human life and property, and to provide specifically for mob action, prescribe punishment and other matters, is sponsored by Emeka Chinedu Marting (PDP-Imo).

The bill stated:  ‘’When three or more persons, with intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner or, being assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace, they are an unlawful assembly.

“When an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot, and the persons assembled are said to be riotously assembled.”

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