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Cross River passes Death Sentence Bill on kidnappers


kidnapIn a bid to beef up security challenges in Cross River, the State House of Assembly yesterday passed Kidnapping Prohibition and Waterfront Regulations Bill.

The Bill is aimed at providing punishment for kidnappers who are involved in the business and asking for ransom in return.

Calling for the Bill to be passed, member representing Obudu state constituency Stephen Akumaye (PDP), informed the House that the state, which had experienced peace was hunted with activities of kidnapping which he said must be addressed.

Akumaye said: “This Bill is a straight forward Bill. Kidnapping of any individual is an offence that requires adequate punishment.

“I want us to carefully examine this bill and give it a speedy passage in order to roll out punishable measures for kidnappers.”

While presenting a Bill on Waterways and how it would generate revenue to the state, the Deputy Speaker Joseph Bassey said that the bill was to establish the Cross River State Waterfront Infrastructure Management Agency.

Bassey who represents Calabar South II (PDP) and also sponsor of the Bill said that the Bill when passed would help in the regulation of illegal activities such as crime on our waterways.

He stressed: “The importance of this Bill is to provide an agency that will manage all water activities in the state.

“The Bill will also prevent hoodlums from coming through the water to commit crime because our waterways seem to be the easiest route for criminals.

“This Bill will also generate revenue for the government especially from sand excavators and other marine operators.’’

Supporting the move for the Bills, the House members maintained that both Bills would protect lives and property of the citizenry, as it would also address waterfront challenges.

Responding, the Speaker, John Gaul-Lebo, asked that Committee on Transport and Marine Services handled the Bill on waterfront and report back to the assembly in a week.

While he commended the kidnapping Bill to the committee on security, he asked that they report back to the House in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, has assured that security operatives would not allow rampaging criminal gangs like kidnappers and cult groups to overwhelm Rivers State.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said any property seized from kidnappers would be converted to accommodation for security agents, just as the government would pay N5 million to family of any policeman killed in course of fighting kidnappers, cultists and armed robbers in the state.

Arase during a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday observed that political conflicts that preceded the last general election had plunged the state into situation of anomy that was detrimental to development. And to proactively tackle this, he had to deploy a new Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, to rebuild the operational strategy of the command to combat the prevalent menace of kidnapping and cultism.

“We will never allow a group of hoodlums, of hooligans, or cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers to overwhelm the state. It has never happened anywhere in the history of police and we will not allow it to happen in Rivers State,” he said.

He explained that within the past one month, Ezike had been able to reignite the insurmountable fighting spirit of the Nigeria Police. He stated that there was no way the police can allow criminal gangs or cult groups to overwhelm the state because this has never happened in the history of any law enforcement agency.

“We are going to work assiduously to ensure that this state does not degenerate to further chaos. I have spoken to the Commissioner of Police that maybe we should be able to find a way to encourage people in possession of illegal fire arms to surrender them. We have done it before during the amnesty programme without any criminal implication, and I think we can do it again. We know the reasons why there was this accumulation of arms here and there. We are not going to blame them for it, but we can also encourage them that we cannot continue like this,” said Arase.

The IGP stated that the people of Rivers State need good governance, which can only be actualised in an atmosphere of peace, which the police is constitutionally empowered to provide.

Governor Wike stated that prior to now, the menace of kidnapping and cultism had been the order of the day in the state. But due to the proactive measures put in place by the new commissioner of police who have come up with idea to partner with his other security agencies like SSS, Navy and the army, there has been a reduction incident of kidnapping, for instance.

The governor explained that security had been topmost priority of his administration, because it was prerequisite for attracting investments into the state and in cognisance of the fact that no investors wanted to do business on a hostile environment where government could not protect their interest.

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