Thursday, 1st June 2023

NBA-SPIDEL slams national legislators over ransom criminalisation bill

By Silver Nwokoro
10 May 2022   |   3:20 am
The Nigerian Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has condemned attempt by national legislators to criminalise ransom payment by families of kidnapped victims without tackling the root cause of kidnapping.

Emeka Nwadioke (left), Council Member, Chisom Onuoha, Chief Frank Agbedo, Chairman, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani, Treasure Funmi Adeogun and Chika Okolie at the media briefing on 2022 NBA-SPIDEL yearly conference holding in Sokoto

Body set to hold it’s yearly conference

The Nigerian Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has condemned attempt by national legislators to criminalise ransom payment by families of kidnapped victims without tackling the root cause of kidnapping. According to the body, laws ought to reflect reality in any given society.

In a media briefing held recently, Chairman, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani, said victims of kidnapping pay ransom, out of desperation and abject helplessness, knowing that the State has failed and is unable to protect lives and property or secure the release of their loved ones from kidnappers’ den.

His words: “It is very appalling, therefore, that the same country that has failed to provide security to the people it governs, is embarking on a ‘suicide mission’ of criminalising ransom payment by the very victims that are helpless and desperate to save the lives of their loved ones.

“This piece of legislation under contemplation lacks logic and wisdom and the House of Representatives is hereby advised to jettison the Bill without any further consideration. It does not make any sense at all! Instead, the legislature is strongly advised to focus on laws that will strengthen national security and protect lives and property.

“I dare say Nigerians are shocked at the number of presidential aspirants buying Expression of Interest forms from their various parties at very exorbitant fees. At this juncture, what we advise is that Nigerians should be alert and ‘shine their eyes’ to avoid the grave error of the past.”

He further demanded the immediate passage of some amendments to the 1999 Constitution, which may correct some of the noticeable flaws in the federal structure.

“We need more powers and funds to be devolved to the federating units to correct the present defective system. Even though a half measure, it is better than doing nothing with the present overbearing federal structure that breeds intolerable inefficiency,” Ubani said.

Why briefing newsmen on the yearly conference schedule to hold from May 22 to May 26, 2022 at the exquisite Sokoto Conference Centre, Airport Road, Sokoto with the theme “Rule of Law and Democratic Evolution in Nigeria”, Ubani said renowned jurist and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ado-Ekiti, Prof. Akin Oyebode, will deliver the keynote address. His address is on “Rule of Law and Nigeria’s Democratic Experiences: The Way Forward.”

“The Opening Ceremony on Monday, May 23, 2022 will witness addresses by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad; (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata; the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and the Chief Judge of Sokoto State, Justice Muhammad Sa’idu Sifawa, to name a few. The Sokoto State Governor, His Exellency Aminu Waziri Tambuwal will declare the conference open.

“The sub-themes to be dissected by an array of leading speakers include, Democratic Evolution & Nation Building – The Past, Present & Future of Nigeria; The Rule of Law Index in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria; Costs of Elections (Human & Financial Costs) – Counting the Costing & Applying the Values; Rule of Law, Security & Promotion of Democracy; Civilian vs Uniformed Citizens – Human Rights Non-Compliance & The Changing Rules of Engagement; Tackling Impunity, Electoral Offenders and Insecurity; Unity in Diversity: The Rule of Law as the Unifier; Partnership Forum: Everyone a Changemaker Movement; Role of Technology in Electoral Governance; Electoral Act 2022 and Electoral Justice; Political Parties & Internal Party Democracies – Challenges & Prospects; Rule of Law and Elections as it affects persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, and State Independent Electoral Commissions: Protectors or Destroyers of Democracy?” he said.

Ubani noted that speakers in attendance are Supreme Court jurist, Justice Inyang Okoro; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye; Amnesty International Country Director, Ms. Osai Ojigho; former Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo SAN; National Chairman of ADC, Chief Ralph Nwosu; Mr. Tony Nnadi, Secretary of Lower Niger Congress; Dr. Daniel Bwala, former Senior Special Assistant to the Senate President; and Prof. C. B. N. Ogbogbo, Director of Research at NARC, among others.

He also noted that the Conference Planning Committee has secured very reasonable rebates for as low as N6, 000 per night from some leading hotels with barely 10 minutes shuttle distance from the Sokoto Conference Centre. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) has also secured free bus services to ferry conferees from their hotels to the conference venue.

“There are available direct flights from some cities to Sokoto, and conferees are advised to book their flights on time. Airlines that currently offer direct flights to Sokoto include MAX Air, Arik Airline and AERO Contractors,” he said. Ubani urged members and participants to visit for registration, hotel reservation, sponsorship opportunities and more information.