Reps Want Death Penalty For Kidnappers
ABUJA, Sept 21, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives and other stakeholders today recommended that death penalty be introduced as punishment for anyone who engages in the business of kidnapping and hostage taking in the country.
Hon. Bala Ibn Na'Allah who anchored the the public hearing organized by the House Joint Committee on Justice, Judiciary, Human Rights and Police on a bill for an Act to prohibit kidnapping, hostage taking, prescribe punishment for its contravention and other bills, said that unless stiffer penalty is meted out to perpetrator, prospective investors in Nigeria’s economy including expatriates will continue to shun the country.
Na’Allah noted that those involved in the business of kidnapping have done unquantifiable damage to the country’s economy and therefore do not deserve to live.
"Kidnappers do not deserve to live and I have no apologies for that," he added.
Other stakeholders who spoke in favour of the death penalty were the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Institute of Arbitration, the Nigeria Legal Aid Council, NAPTIP and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) among others.
Speaking at the occasion, the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mrs. Rose Chinyere Ijeoma expressed the support of the service to the bill which she said would go a long way in fighting the menace of kidnapping and hostage taking in the country.
"We (NIS), support the bill in its entirety in view of the negative effect the incidence have been having on the country," she said, adding that the development has also effected the quality of expatriates coming into the country especially the South Eastern part of the country where most companies manned by these expatriates have folded up as a result.
She also lamented what she described as the "export of kidnapping" to other countries including South Africa and Malaysia among others where the menace was traced to Nigerian accomplices.
The immigration boss, while appealing for expeditious review of the immigration Act before the parliament said, "We want to see a vibrant economy as well security for our citizens."
In his presentation on the bill, human rights activist and Vice Chairman of the National Arbitration Council, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said that no serious investor will want to come to Nigeria when expatriates are not safe in the country.
Ozekhome therefore recommended a minimum of life imprisonment for anyone engaged in kidnapping and death penalty if it was carried out through the use of violence with the aid of weapons.
Also in his contribution to the bill, the Executive Secretary National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Simon Egede recommended stiffer penalty for the crime of kidnapping as well as hostage taking in Nigeria generally.
Egede who was represented by the Assistant Director, Legal and Prosecution, Barrister Ibrahim Joshua, argued that the existing punishment for the offence was not punitive enough.
Other bills addressed by the public hearing organized by the House of Representatives include the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act, the Institute of Mediators and Conciliators Bill and the National Arbitration Commission Bill.