Death Penalty For Terrorists Acts - Stakeholders
ABUJA, July 06, (THEWILL) - Death penalty has been suggested today for those found guilty of terrorist acts in Nigeria by stakeholders and some Senators at a public hearing in Abuja.
The stakeholders were of the opinion that the prescribed five years imprisonment in the bill currently before the National Assembly was not stiff enough to combat terrorism, stating that death sentence would seriously deter those who have the intention and discourage them accordingly.
Senate President David Mark who officially declared the event open for a joint bill for an Act to provide for measures to contain terrorism in Nigeria, noted that the bill "aims at providing the legal framework for measures to combat terrorism and work out an institutional mechanism for punishing offenders of the heinous crime, which is indispensable to both our internal and external security."
Chairman Joint Senate Committee on Terrorism, Senator Nuhu Aliyu told stakeholders his committee had intimated security agencies in the country to discuss on the proposed law remarking that members of the committee during the consideration of the bill had reasoned that any act of killing is against the Nigerian constitution and should punishable by death.
Senator Mark who was represented at the occasion by Senator Kabir Gaya (ANPP, Kano) expressed dismay on the effect of terrorism act committed by Abdul Mutallab saying; "this unfortunate dare devil attempt earned us a misconstrued image in the US which placed us on their terror watch list. This is an isolated case that is completely alien to our national beliefs, ideals and culture."
He said, "Abdul Mutallab was neither bred or trained in Nigeria and could not have provided a suitable touch stone for assessing our national values and orientation. The attempt was scathingly criticized by the government and people of Nigeria including his father who had earlier raised the first security alert on him… I want to use this forum to once again condemn terrorism in all its ramifications: whether it is carried out within or beyond national borders. Our cultures and religion forbid the taking of lives of fellow human beings. For the avoidance of doubt, this bill is for the general interest of all Nigerians and not targeted at any group. Terrorism is gruesome and evil and must be not be condoned."
On his part, Senator Anthony Manzo (PDP, Taraba warned that the bill should not be taken as targeting any sect, group or groups of persons or religion stressing that "we want to be on the same page with all the countries of the world. The bill has no religious connotation; the Boko Haram crisis is a social crisis not religious. Now that we are heading the UN Security Council for a month, Nigeria must use the month to boost its image."
Senator Manzo said the bill seeks to empower all the security agencies to carry out search on any premises in case of urgency, without search warrant as provided for in Section 23(1).
Samuel Dare, a retired Army Colonel advocated the death penalty on terrorists and their collaborators.
"The law is long overdue in view of terrorism in a globalized world. Terrorism comes in different form, shape and causes collateral damage. Nigeria lacks the institution and infrastructure to fight terrorism hence the need for Nigeria to key into global war against terrorism. We need to jettison oppression in all ramifications and ensure transparency and accountability."
"There is no doubt that we have long harbored all forms of terrorism in this part of the globe. It is however, sad that we have down played these various acts of terrorism and made it sound foreign, each time, the word terrorism is mentioned. I am specifically talking about what started as a child’s play in the Niger Delta, which has now assumed a wider proportion all over Nigeria; kidnapping and assassination", he said.