Bill proposing 15-year jail term for Nigerians paying ransom to kidnappers passes second reading

May 20, 2021
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Bill proposing 15-year jail term for Nigerians paying ransom to kidnappers passes second reading

Posted by News Express | 20 May 2021 | 46 times

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•Bill Sponsor, Senator Onyewuchi

A Bill to outlaw payment of ransom for kidnap victims on Wednesday passed the second reading on the floor of the Nigerian Senate.

The Bill, sponsored by Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi, who represents Imo East senatorial zone, seeks to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 to outlaw payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped and other related matters. It proposes 15-year jail term for Nigerians paying ransom to kidnappers.

Ezenwa explained that the need to outlaw ransom payment is premised on the fact that statistics show that buying out one victim strengthens and encourages abductors, kidnappers and terrorist organisations and thus puts many more people at risk as kidnapping and ransom payment have become a vicious circle.

He added that the reason behind payments of ransom is the fact that people easily identify with victims, lamenting that history has shown that even where ransom is proven to have been paid, the life or safe return of a kidnap victim may still not be guaranteed.

The Senator quoted a former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, who once declared that, “As a law enforcement agency guided by rule of law and professional ethics, we do not under any circumstance encourage the payment of ransom to kidnappers or other criminals as it is tantamount to rewarding crime and motivating other criminals to follow that path.”

He further stated that payment of terrorist ransom is illegal under the UK Terrorism Act 2000 while the USA adheres to a strict No-Concessions policy on the payment of ransom.

Onyewuchi emphasised that ransom payments lead to future kidnappings, and future kidnappings lead to additional ransom payments. And it all builds the capacity of terrorist organizations to conduct attacks.

The Senator charged the Federal Government to strengthen the economy as a matter of urgency, accelerate its poverty alleviation programmes, provide employment opportunities targeting youths who are mostly involved in abductions and kidnappings, strengthen the law enforcement agencies, and provide the necessary support to end the menace of kidnapping.

Source: News Express


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