Kidnapping: Lawyers oppose bill seeking to criminalise ransom payment

Posted by News Express | 22 May 2021 | 509 times

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•A cross section of Nigerian lawyers



Some Lagos-based lawyers on Friday opposed a bill proposed by the Senate  seeking a 15-year jail term for any person found guilty of paying ransom to kidnappers.
In interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the lawyers  said the bill did not tackle the root cause of ransom payment.
NAN reports that the bill entitled, “Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2021”,  provides that anyone who makes payment or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper or terrorist to receive any ransom, is liable on conviction to 15 years’ imprisonment.
The bill also notes, among other things, that kidnapping is in the increase in Nigeria and prevalent across all the geopolitical zones.
It adds that people blame the rise in kidnapping  on poverty, religion, politics, deficiency of laws, unemployment, connivance of security agents, corruption and greed.
It provides that ransom payment must be discouraged to stop kidnapping.
 A Principal Partner of Owolabi Chambers, Mr Ademola Owolabi, told NAN that ransom payment fuelled  kidnapping but said:
“The Senate is wrong, as the bill fails to emphasise and appreciate the traumas of the victims.
“Victims in this concept are the kidnapped, his or her family members and friends.
“The Senate is like criminalising treatment of trauma.”
Owolabi said  that a more productive approach would be to strengthen  law enforcement agencies to go after kidnappers and overpower them.
He said that it would be better for Senate to first scrutinise the bill before introducing it on the floor of the assembly.
A Senior Partner at BA Law, Lagos,  Mr Adenrele Adegborioye, said: “Instead of tackling a problem from the root, the Senate is dealing with it at the surface.
“What the government and National Assembly should do is to first combat  insecurity and get rid of kidnappers.”
 He said that the bill sought to punish innocent citizens who were paying ransom under enormous pressure not to lose their loved ones.
The senior law partner said that relatives  of  victims would not be expected to fold their hands and watch their loved ones killed by kidnappers.
Adegborioye described the bill as harsh.
 “I am against such a bill,” he told NAN.
He advised that the police should be well-equipped to be effective in dealing with all crimes.
A Principal Partner of  Ayiyi Chambers in Apapa, Lagos State,  Mr Chris Ayiyi, alleged,“ Politicians are trying to divert our minds from other issues.”
He called on the Feferal Government to  rid the country of bandits, kidnappers and other criminals. (NAN)

Source: News Express

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