A Bill proposing for life imprisonment for the “offence of kidnapping or any form of abduction, wrongful restraint and confinement,” on Tuesday, passed the second reading at the Nigerian Senate.
The Anti-Kidnapping Bill sponsored by former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is seeking to introduce stiffer punishments and punitive measures to combat and prevent the rampant cases of kidnapping in different parts of the country.
While leading the debate on the Bill, Amosun said kidnapping is a major security challenge confronting Nigeria in recent times and because the punishment for the crime is light, it has “continued to grow and has assumed horrendous dimensions with a negative impact on the economy.
“The impact of kidnapping on both economic and daily life has been devastating,” Amosun said.
“For many Nigerians, kidnapping is far more devastating than the carnage of Boko Haram in the North-East, 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. Now, 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 highest 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,” the Senator said.
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