National Assembly is mulling a bill seeking to prohibit the payment of ransom for the release of any citizen kidnapped.
The bill titled; “The bill titled Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2021” passed the second reading on Wednesday May 19 after it was sponsored by Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi.
If passed in to law, there will be a 15-year jail sentence for anyone found guilty of paying ransom for any one kidnapped.
Senator Onyewuchi said;
“Anyone who transfers funds, makes payment or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper or terrorist to receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped is guilty of a felony and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years.”
“Kidnapping is on the increase in Nigeria and it is prevalent across all the geopolitical zones.
Some blame the rise of this criminal activity on poverty, religion, politics, deficiency of existing laws, unemployment, connivance of security agents, corruption, and greed among others.
“Our unemployed youths are also turning out to kidnapping to get money (ransom) as a survival strategy.
“Whatever the reason, it is most obvious that kidnapping in Nigeria puts everyone at risk, the rich and the poor, old and young, male and female, foreigner or indigene, expatriate or non-expatriate, traditional rulers and religious leaders, among others”
He also noted that countries like USA and UK don’t support payment of ransoms to kidnappers.
“Payments of terrorist ransoms is illegal under the UK Terrorism Act 2000 while the USA adheres to a strict No-Concessions policy on the payment of ransom.
“The continuous payment of ransom must not be encouraged, in addition government should provide adequate security and strengthen the economy as a matter of urgency, accelerate its poverty alleviation programs, provide employment opportunities targeting youths who are mostly involved in abductions and kidnappings, strengthen our law enforcement agencies, and provide the necessary support to end the menace of kidnapping.”