The Senate, on Tuesday, considered a bill seeking stiffer punishment for the offence of abduction, wrongful restraint and confinement for ransom.
The bill titled, “Abduction, Wrongful Restraints and Confinement Bill 2021” proposed a life imprisonment for anyone convicted for the offence of kidnapping, particularly where death results from the act.
The proposed legislation, which was passed for second reading during plenary, also sought a 30-year jail term for any recipient of proceeds of kidnapping.
According to the sponsor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun), the bill seeks to repeal the existing enactment in the Criminal Code Act and provides for a more robust and comprehensive legislation for the containment of kidnapping.
The lawmaker said the spike in the cases of abduction for ransom was due to lack of stricter punishment for offenders.
The highest term of imprisonment prescribed for kidnapping in the Criminal and Penal Code Acts is 10 years.
Amosun said the light punishment against the offence has not helped in deterring the spate of abductions that have now become prevalent in the country.
“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 term of imprisonment of up to 30 years,” he said.
The senator lamented that the impact of kidnapping on both economic and daily life has been devastating.
“Over time, 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.
“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 been seen as a big and lucrative business.
“All hands must therefore be on deck to curtail the rising ugly trend of kidnappings in this country hence the importance of this Bill,” he added.
The bill, after scaling second reading, was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary Human Rights and Legal Matters, for further legislative action.