After receiving and debating on a bill on the crime, the Upper House on Thursday approved the death sentence for the offences of abduction, wrongful restraint, or wrongful confinement for a ransom.
Across the country, Nigerians have been at the mercy of kidnappers, who abduct, maim and kill their victims even after their families have paid various sums of money as ransom.
Before approving the capital punishment, the lawmakers went through the clause-by-clause consideration of the report at their plenary session and resolved that the time had come for drastic measures to be taken against the perpetrators of the act.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu) presented the report on behalf of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Isa Misau (APC-Bauchi).
While presenting the report, Senator Utazi said that the bill sought to prescribe stiff punishment for the offence of abduction, wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement for ransom.
He said that the Bill seeks to combat and prevent any form of kidnapping in Nigeria and wider powers given to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to ensure adequate crackdown on the crime.
Clause 1 (3) of the Bill states that “whoever is guilty of the offence that results in the death of the victim shall be liable upon conviction to death.”
In Clause 5 (2), the Bill stipulates that “anyone who fails to produce any book, account, receipts, vouchers or other documents which is in his possession or control shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both fine and imprisonment.”
Clause 3 provides a 30-year jail term to anyone who colludes with an abductor to receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined.
The report was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers after a voice vote put out by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The Senate also passed the Bill for the Prohibition and Protection of Persons from Lynching.
However, the report of the Committee on Trade and Investment on Counterfeit Goods Bill was stepped down due to technical irregularities.