Finally, Senate Passes Anti-Terrorism Bill
ABUJA, Feb 17, (THEWILL) - Senate today finally passed the Anti-Terrorism bill less than 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan sent his third appeal letter to the lawmakers for an expedited action on it.
The bill is for an Act to Provide for Measures to Combat Terrorism and For Related Matters 2010. It had earlier been subjected to committee tinkering after the consideration of its general principles at the second reading.
Presenting the final report on the bill, Chairman Senate Committee on National Security and intelligence, Senator Nuhu Aliyu (PDP, Niger) explained that "fight against terrorism has today become a global fight and Nigeria as a member of the international community seeks to play an important role."
He noted that the event of 9/11 terrorist attack in the United states alerted the countries of the world and such goaded them into putting measures in place to check the activities of terrorists, especially with the passage of the Security Council resolution 1373.
"For those of us who were here during the fifth Senate, you will recall that a bill to combat terrorist acts was read on this chamber in 2005 but it could not scale the second reading because it was the thinking of the Senate then, that the objective conditions for having an anti-terrorist Act were not extant in Nigeria.
According to him, the bill seeks to provide a legal framework for the prevention, prohibition and combating of acts of terrorism in Nigeria as well as prescribe penalties for violating any of its provisions.
During the public hearing Senator Aliyu added the committee observed the necessity to provide a useful and potent legal instrument for combating the growing threat of terrorism in Nigeria.
"Many organized crimes such as oil bunkering, hostage taking and kidnappings will attract stiff penalties under the bill", he said.
The lawmaker maintained that the bill when it becomes operational "will go a long way to lay the legal framework for measures for the prevention, prohibition and combating of acts of terrorism, the financing of terrorism in Nigeria and for the effective implementation of the Convention on the prevention and combating of terrorism and the convention on the suppression of the financing of terrorism. It also seeks to prescribe penalties for violating any of its provisions."
Section 2(c) defines 'act of terrorism" as anyone involves or causes an attack upon a person's life which may cause serious bodily harm or death; kidnapping of a person; destruction to a government or public facility, transport system, an infrastructural facility including an information system, a fixed platform located on the continental shelf, public place or private property likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss. The seizure of an aircraft, ship or other means of public or goods transport and the use of such means of transportation for any of the purposes…"
According to the bill, a person who belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organization commits an offence under this Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 20 years.
"For avoidance of doubts political parties should not be regarded as proscribed organizations and nobody should be treated as such because of his/her political beliefs."