The Eselu of Iselu, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi has condemned a bill proposed by the Nigerian Senate seeking to incriminate those paying for the release of any person kidnapped, imprisoned or wrongfully confined.
KanyiDaily had reported that the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2021, scaled second reading during plenary on Wednesday, and it proposes 15 years imprisonment for Nigerians who pay ransom to kidnappers and kidnappers who receive ransom.
In an open letter addressed to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Friday, Oba Akinyemi opposed the bill, saying the Nigerian government should first secure the release of Leah Sharibu and others in kidnappers’ den before taking such steps.
“With all sense of honesty, I totally condemn the menace of kidnapping that has now ravaged our dear country, Nigeria. As a patriotic citizen, I will always support any steps that governments at all levels take with the view to ridding our country off all manners of criminalities, including the crime of kidnapping that is sadly gaining more currency/popularity in our country these days.
“However, I feel the bill that is proposing a 15-year jail term for payers of ransom to kidnappers is a misplaced priority, unpopular and needless at this precious time because governments at all levels have failed in their responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerian citizens due mainly to the poor security architecture in the entire country,” the first-class Oba said.
“If families of kidnapped persons cannot pay ransom due to the proposed bill and government too does not have an effective security architecture to rescue the victims, it then means that the victims of kidnapping will be in the kidnappers’ dens till eternity. Lives of some of them may even be in danger in the hands of their abductors. Will that not amount to a double jeopardy for the victims’ families?”
While saying he was sure that the children of the proponents of the bill are not in this “unsecure country”, Oba Akinyemi opined that the first thing to do is to develop a security strategy that will strength the police and others to be able to confront kidnappers.
“To me, the first thing we should do is to develop a security strategy that will make the Nigeria Police Force and other Security Forces possess the competence and capacity to aggressively confront the crime of kidnapping in Nigeria.
“If we want the bill to be popular, the Federal Government should first rescue Leah Sharibu and other hundreds of innocent Nigerians who are still being held in kidnappers’ dens in all the nooks and crannies of our country, Nigeria,” the Eselu stated.
“Before sponsoring such a bill, the government ought to first put in place an effective Nigeria Police Rescue Team; boost the morale of the men of the Nigeria Police Force and other Security agencies in the country to enable them put in all their best; insure the lives of the men of the Nigeria Police Force so as to give confidence to them and their families and provide all the necessary facilities/amenities to make all the security personnel in Nigeria function well.”
KanyiDaioy recalls that a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo had accused the governments of Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari of paying ransom to kidnappers and denying it.