A Bill seeking to introduce stiffer punishment for kidnapping, wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement for ransom, has passed second reading at the Senate.
This was sequel to the presentation of the lead debate by the sponsor, Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Osun) during plenary on Tuesday.
The bill is titled “Abduction, Wrongful Restraints and Confinement Bill 2021”.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Mr Amosun said the bill was read for the first time on Wednesday, June 30.
He said the aim was to ensure stricter and more stringent punishment for the offence of kidnapping, and bring to an end the debate of the adequacy or otherwise of punishment for kidnapping and other related crimes, like false imprisonment.
“It also seeks to combat and prevent any form of kidnapping in Nigeria.
“This Bill also provides more punitive measures for ancillary crimes flowing from the commission of the crime of abduction, like death or grievous bodily harm.
“To achieve the deterrent effect, life imprisonment is proposed for the offence of kidnapping, particularly where death results from the act.
“The law is made stricter by ensuring that recipients of any proceeds of the act of kidnapping are heavily sanctioned with term of imprisonment of up to 30 years.
“The bill proposes to give the Inspector-General of Police wider powers to enable adequate policing of the crime of kidnapping.”
The lawmaker further said that the highest term of imprisonment prescribed for kidnapping in the Criminal and Penal Code Acts was 10 years imprisonment.
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“The light punishment against these offences has not helped in deterring the spate of abductions and kidnappings that have now become prevalent in the country.”
Mr Amosun described the menace a major national challenge that deserved to be treated with all seriousness.
The bill was thereafter refered to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative action to report back in four weeks.
The country, over the past few years, has witnessed an upsurge in cases of kidnappings for ransom despite numerous attempts by the authorities to curb the disturbing trend.