Senate considers bill to jail ransom payers to kidnappers, terrorists

The upper legislative chambers, the Senate is currently considering a bill to criminalise payment of ransom in Nigeria.

The bill, which is being sponsored by Senator Francis Onyewuchi has passed second reading in the Senate at plenary on Wednesday.

Leading debate on the bill, Onyewuchi who represents Imo East, said it seeks to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 with a new section which criminalises payment of ransom to kidnappers and terrorists with 15 year imprisonment.

Supporting the proposal, Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central – APC), also said payment of ransom is counterproductive as it encourages more kidnapping and terrorism.

“If you don’t pay the ransom, it will discourage the kidnappers and terrorists. Eventually, the captives will be released,” he said.
Both lawmakers called on the government to strengthen law enforcement agencies and provide the necessary support to end the menace of kidnapping.

Kidnapping for ransom in the country has especially spiked over the past couple of years.
Nigerian geopolitical intelligence firm, SBM Intelligence, in a recent report estimated that about $18.3 million was paid as ransom between 2011 and 2020.

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