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Senate Passes Bill To Prohibit Ransom Payment To Kidnappers

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The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to criminalise the payment of ransom to kidnappers in Nigeria.

This follows the amendment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013.

The bill was as a result of a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, tabled by the chairman of the committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central).

The Chairman of the committee explained to the house that the prohibition will curb the menace of kidnapping in the country.

According to the lawmaker, “the overall import of this bill is to discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom In Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country.”

He disclosed that in the memoranda presented to the Committee, the plethora of issues relating to the subject matter of terrorism and terrorism financing in line with global best practices were raised.

He added that, “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.”

He emphasised that the proposed repeal and enactment Bill was geared toward improving the effectiveness of countermeasures against terrorism, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing.

He said the repel against terrorism will improve the country’s relationship with other countries and international bodies.

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Bamidele said that, “the passage of this Bill will save Nigeria from being included among countries in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List with its attendant negative consequences, which might ultimately result in international sanctions that would affect the image of the country in the comity of nations.”

In his remarks, Senate President Ahmad Lawan maintained that the bill will be an addition to the FG’s fight against insecurity when signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “It is our belief here in the Senate, that this bill, by the time signed into an Act by Mr. President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and other associated and related vices.

“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security situation in Nigeria but even the economic fortunes of our country.

“We have done so much as a government, in terms of infrastructural development across all parts of this country, but because the security situation is not the kind of situation that we all want, this tends to overshadow all the tremendous and massive developments in our country.

“I believe that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law, and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon by the Senate, and, indeed, the National Assembly and, for the reason for which it would also be signed by Mr. President.

“Let me make it very clear here, that the fight against insecurity, whether it is kidnapping, terrorism, or whatsoever, is not the sole role of a government.

“The contribution and support by citizens are essential because our security agencies need vital and critical information against terrorism and other things that make life difficult for us.”

The bill was passed by the chamber after it scaled third reading on the floor.

The Senate, thereafter, adjourned the plenary session till May 10, 2022, for the Sallah break.

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