Oct 21, 2011 – New Law: Life Jail Term For Kidnappers in Nigeria
According to daily times report, Kidnapping of persons and abduction of any kind for ransom is to attract a life jail term under a new law put forward by the House of Representatives.
The law prescribes life imprisonment for kidnapping, while attempts at the act, as well as abetting the crime, will receive a maximum term of 10 years.
The new law is separate from the broader Anti-Terrorism Bill signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan earlier this year, and targets offences considered to be strictly related to hostage taking, seizing of persons and abduction for cash.
Nigeria ranks high globally after Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as most kidnapping prone nations.
Some states, mostly in southern Nigeria – where the crime is more rampant- have already passed and signed a law prescribing either life terms or capital punishment for the crime.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a second reading of the bill sponsored by three of its members; after the first attempt to get the bill through during the sixth assembly last year, failed.
Friday Itulah, Henry Dickson and Samson Osagie, the sponsors, said the push is necessary to contend the rising cases of kidnapping in the country.
The bill still awaits a third reading and a concurrence from the senate to be law.
Still, the move represented a more direct attempt to punish the crime which has notoriously ballooned into a thriving venture and national security threat.
Despite minority concerns that the bill should have been considered an amendment to existing penal codes rather than a fresh Act, the proposals received wide support as it was debated yesterday.
“This is one offence which no punishment should be too big for it,” said Rotimi Makinde, a member from Ekiti State, who has been a victim of kidnapping.
Makinde was held for five days early this year, and he said he still lived with the trauma of that experience.