Imo State, with capital at Owerri, was one of the seven States created by the General Murtala Muhammed led military dictatorship on the 3rd of February, 1976.
Its 5,100km2 landmass was until then part of the defunct East Central State, one of the 12 geo-political sub-units created by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon after the demise of Nigeria’s First Republic.
The State was again divided in 1991 to create Abia State. Imo State derives its name from the Imo River which takes its course from the Okigwe/Awka upland. The State lies within latitudes 4o45lN and 7o15lN and 7o25lE, and longitude 6o50lE. occupying the area between the lower River Niger and upper and middle Imo River. It is bounded on the west by River Niger and Delta State, on the east by Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Abia States, to the north by Anambra State while Rivers State takes up its southern boundary.
The population of Imo State according to National Population Commission estimate is about 3,927,563- (Male: 1,976,471. Female: 1,951,092). The economy of the State depends largely on agriculture and commerce and the chief occupation of the people is farming. Major crops include oil palm, raffia palm, rice, groundnut, melon, cotton, rubber, and maize. Food crops such as yam, cassava, cocoyam and maize are also produced in large quantities.
Currently, the State owes its legal existence to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a State, it is constitutionally mandated to establish:
- an Executive arm of government headed by an elected Governor;
- 2. of a legislative arm of government which members shall be drawn from constituencies defined in the Constitution. Its activities are presided over by a Speaker elected by the members of the State House of Assembly which oversees the exercise of the State’s legislative energies;
- 3. a judicial arm made up of judges, magistrates and other officers that help in the administration of justice and related activities within the State. The judicial arm is headed by the State’s Chief Justice. Nonetheless, judicial pronouncement of the State’s tribunals are subject to the appellate review of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in that order;
- maintain of the Local Government level of governance. Presently, the Nigerian Constitution prescribes27 local Local Government Areas for the State; and
- mobilize the powers of the State, the institutions and resources of its arms and levels of government in order to secure a socio-economic environment for persons resident in the State and its other stakeholders to pursue legitimate goals in dignity under the State’s justice administration umbrella
The Imo State legal system comprises;
- The compendium of Constitution provisions applicable to the State as one of the 36 States that constitute the Nigerian Federation;
- Laws made by the Federal Legislature applicable throughout the entire federation or specifically to Imo State;
- Laws made (or deemed to have been made), by the State’s legislature;
- Laws made by Local Government Councils in the State;
- Customary laws or other customs of the market place applicable under the operation of Law;
- Judicial precedents of the courts of the State and of appellate courts with jurisdictions over its tribunals like the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria;
- Judicial precedents of federation tribunals like the Federal High Court, the National Industrial Court, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Investments and Securities Tribunal and so on to the extent to which their mandates allow.
- Law enforcement institutions, law enforcement officers, judges, legal practitioners, judiciary workers, other professionals and persons recognized at various levels as part of the justice administration complex of the State.
Sources of Law for the Imo State Legal System include:
- The Constitution of Nigeria (including its amendments and other laws it refers to expressly as having the same character as provisions contained within the formal Constitutional document;
- Laws of the Federation of Nigeria;
- Legislations of the National Assembly applicable to Imo State;
- Legislations of the State House of Assembly;
- Recognized customs of the people of Imo State;
- Judicial precedents of courts with judicial authority over Imo State;
- Local Government edicts.
IMO STATE BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS
LEGAL SYSTEMS OF THE FEDERATING UNITS OF NIGERIA – 37 STATES/FCT