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You’re doing well on anti-terrorism bill, group lauds Senate



A civil organisation, Democracy Watch, has commended the Ahmad Lawan-led Ninth Senate for its “tough stand against kidnapping and terrorism, and ensuring the second reading of a bill titled: ‘Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, sponsored by Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi, who represents Imo East on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”

In a statement signed by Jackson Marizu yesterday, the organisation commended the upper legislative chamber for paying attention to such a bill that seeks to amend the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2013, with a view to outlawing payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for persons wrongly confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.


It noted: “The substituted version of the principal Act in the new bill states that anyone, who transfers funds, makes payment or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper or terrorist to receive any ransom for the release of any person, who has been wrongly confined, imprisoned or kidnapped, is guilty of a felony and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not less than 15 years.”

The group recalled that under the Senator Bukola Saraki administration, a similar bill titled: “Abduction, Wrongful Restraint and Conferment Bill, came up for mention but the Eighth Senate did not go the whole hog. We are delighted that the Ninth Senate has resurrected, reworked and refined the bill with a view to making it meet the demands and realities of the moment.”

“We applaud Senator Onyewuchi and the entire Senate for this patriotic move. Anybody, who lives in this country, knows that kidnapping, abduction and terrorism constitute a major threat to the security of life and property. They are also a danger to social cohesion. Beyond that, insecurity occasioned by kidnappings, abductions and related crimes weaken and destroy the economy. Decent people will not like to do business in an environment where these social vices thrive.”


“It is, therefore, very thoughtful on the part of the Senate to give due consideration to this important bill that promises to stamp out the blight of terrorism, abduction and kidnapping,” it stated. The body said it was aware that some persons flayed the legislature and bill sponsor for prescribing a penalty for a ransom payment.

“Those who are criticising the lawmakers on this score are missing the point. It should be noted that the greatest incentive for kidnapping and abduction is ransom payment. Throwing money at criminals in exchange for the release of the abducted encourages the abductor to continue with his nefarious activity. It enriches and empowers him and gives him the propensity to do more. The best way to stop the anti-social engagement is for people to stop paying ransom. Once that is done, the abductor will be out of business. The bill is, therefore, well-considered. Rather than criticise the Senate, we should applaud the legislative body for a well-thought-out bill,” the group said.

It continued: “As critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, we, at Democracy Watch, are of the considered opinion that this bill should be supported by well-meaning Nigerians. In appreciating the merit of the bill, we recognise the fact that the Senate is populated by wise men and women from different walks of life.”


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