A bill proposing life imprisonment for kidnappers has passed its second hearing in the Nigerian Senate.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the sponsor of the bill said there has been a major insurgence in kidnapping in recent times, therefore stricter punishments have to be introduced to combat the uprising.
The senator said the light punishment associated with the crime was the reason for the increase in recent times.
“The impact of kidnapping on both economic and daily life has been devastating.
“For many Nigerians, kidnapping is far more devastating than the carnage of Boko Haram in the northeast, or the carnage in the middle belt over land, pasture and water use between farmers and herders.”
“In the rich oil south-south, kidnapping is often seen as a manifestation of the insurrection over how oil revenue is distributed.
“Overtime, the pool of potential victims has shockingly been expanded. No, most victims are often poor villagers, sometimes kidnapped indiscriminately, a departure from the targeted kidnapping of wealthy people. They struggle to pay ransoms because of their relative poverty; and this has resulted into many victims being killed in the process.
“Nigeria has one of the rates of kidnaps for ransom of both locals and foreigners in all of Africa.
“While the insurgents in the North East now thrive on the proceeds of kidnappings, criminal elements in the South East and South West are also having a field day. In fact, kidnapping has now become a big and lucrative business.
“This bill also provides more punitive measures for ancillary crimes flowing from the commission of the crime of abduction, like death or grievous 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 a term of imprisonment of up to 30 years”
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, referred the bill to the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters.