The Senate on Wednesday, made payment of ransom to kidnappers illegal in Nigeria as it passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, which prohibits such act.
The passage of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022, followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters at plenary on Wednesday.
According to NAN, the report was laid by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
Bamidele, while presenting the report, said the bill sought to outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for the release of persons who had either been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.
Reason for the Bill
- The lawmaker said that the major reason for the proposition and passage of the bill is to discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom cases in Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country.
- He disclosed that in the memoranda presented to the committee, a plethora of issues relating to the subject matter of terrorism and terrorism financing in line with global best practices were raised.
- Bamidele assured that the amendment bill would set standards and regulatory system intended to prevent terrorist groups from laundering money through the banking system and other financial networks.
- He expressed confidence that such policies that would cut funds for terrorist activities would surely either reduce or eliminate privacy and anonymity in financial and other sundry transactions as it related to the subject in the society.
- Going further, the lawmaker explained the need to comprehensively review the Terrorism Prevention Act arose from the unfavourable ratings of Financial Act Task Force (FATF) recommendations of Nigeria’s Mutual Evaluation Report.
- He said, “And the consequent placement of Nigeria in FATF’s International Cooperation and Review Group Process with its impending sanctions on Nigeria’s economy.”
Senate President says bill to complement FG’s fight against insecurity
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that the bill is expected to complement the Federal Government’s efforts in the fight against insecurity when signed into law by the President.
He said, “It is our belief here in the Senate, that this bill, by the time signed into an Act by Mr President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping and other associated and related vices.
“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security situation in Nigeria, but even the economic fortunes of our country.
“We have done so much as a government in terms of infrastructural development across all parts of this country but because security situation is not the kind of situation that we all want, this tends to overshadow all the tremendous and massive developments in our country.
“It is our belief that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law.’’
What you should know
- The level of insecurity as well as reported cases of kidnapping for ransom payment has increased astronomically in recent times, turning the criminal venture into a very lucrative one.
- Kidnapping which has risen to an alarming level across the country has now remained the most virulent form of banditry in Nigeria and the most pervasive and intractable violent crime in the country.
- Recall that in May 2021, the senate in consideration of a bill to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, proposed a minimum of 15-year jail term for 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 wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.