Senate mulls bill criminalizing payment of ransom with fifteen years imprisonment

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The Senate on Wednesday, May 19 is considering a bill seeking to criminalize the payment of ransom for kidnapped persons with the possibility of a fifteen year jail term.

Named ‘The Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the proposed legislation sponsored by Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi scaled second reading during plenary on Wednesday.

Leading the debate on the bill, the lawmaker said the piece of legislation would seek to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 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.

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He said: “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 to kidnapping to get money (ransom) as a survival strategy.

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“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” 

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