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Kidnapping: Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting Payment Of Ransom

A bill seeking to prohibit the payment of ransom has passed third reading at the senate.

It was learnt that the bill was passed by the upper legislative chamber on Wednesday after Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the committee on judiciary, presented a report.

The bill is an amendment of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013.

According to the senator, the legislation would discourage the rising spate of abductions witnessed across the country.

“The overall import of this bill is to discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom in Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country,” the senator representing Ekiti central said.

“Having policies in place to combat financing of terrorism will surely reduce or eliminate privacy and anonymity in financial and other sundry transactions as it relates to the subject in our society.”

Bamidele said the need for a review of the bill arose from the unfavourable ratings of the financial act task force (FATF) recommendations of Nigeria’s mutual evaluation report.

“The passage of this bill will save Nigeria from being included among countries in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list with its attendant negative consequences, which might ultimately result in international sanctions that would affect the image of the country in the comity of nations,” he said.

On his part, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the bill, if passed, would improve the country’s security situation.

“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,” Lawan said.

“We have done so much as a government in terms of infrastructural development across all parts of this country, but because the 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.

“I believe that the executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law, and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon by the senate and, indeed, the national assembly and, for the reason for which it would also be signed by Mr. President.”

In May 2021, a bill seeking to punish persons who pay ransom passed second reading at the senate.

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