The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill imposing jail terms of at least 15 years for anyone paying a ransom to free someone who has been kidnapped. It also made the crime of abduction punishable by death in cases where victims die, and life imprisonment in other cases.
Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the Senate’s judiciary, human rights and legal committee said the bill seeks to outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped. According to the senator, the bill will “discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom in Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country.”
“Having policies in place to combat financing of terrorism will surely reduce or eliminate privacy and anonymity in financial and other sundry transactions as it relates to the subject in our society” Bamidele said.
The Nigerian Senate President Ahmad Lawan also noted that the move would complement the federal government’s efforts in the fight against insecurity, once signed into law by the President.
According to a report by SB Morgen (SBM) Intelligence, a Lagos-based political risk analysis firm, at least $18.34m was paid to kidnappers as ransom – mostly by families and the government – between June 2011 and March 2020.
It is hoped that the new amendment, would reduce the rate of kidnappings across Nigeria, and equally cut down on the financing of the bandits.
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