The rise in case of persons being kidnapped is alarming. In just 2016 alone, thousands of people were kidnapped and out of those that were kidnapped, some die in the custody of the kidnappers.
There hasn’t really been any stiff penalty for kidnappers until yesterday, when the House of Assembly in Lagos State passed a bill aimed at checking the overflow of kidnapping in the state into law. A bill was passed with stiff penalties including death sentence for offenders.
The passage of the bill was also sequel to the adoption of a report presented by Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC. The law was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa and it prescribes death sentence for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody and life sentence for those whose victims do not die in the hands of their abductors.
The bill states that any person who kidnaps, abducts, detains, captures or takes another person by any means or trick with intent to demand ransom or do anything against his/her will, commits an offence.
It also stipulates life imprisonment for anyone who makes an attempt to kidnap another person. In addition to that, the bill prescribes seven years imprisonment for anyone making false representation to release a kidnapped or abducted person. Likewise, the lawmakers also approved 25 years imprisonment as penalty for anyone found guilty of threatening to kidnap another person through phone call, e-mail, text message or any other means of communication.
The bill prescribes penalty for any person, who knowingly or wilfully allows or permits his premises, building or a place or belonging to which he has control of, to be used for the purpose of keeping a person kidnapped and such a person is guilty of an offence under the law and liable to 14 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
A voice vote was conducted for approval of the members. Lagos state recorded recurrent cases of kidnappings, with the incident affecting students in two schools in 2016. In February 2016, three school girls were seized from Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, but were later freed by the police.
Similarly, sometime is October, gunmen stormed the Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Ikorodu, and took away the vice principal, a teacher and four students but were released several days after.
Traditional rulers aren’t left out as kidnappers stormed the palace of a traditional ruler, the Oniba of Iba, Yishau Goriola Oseni, in July and abducted him, however, his release was later secured and several persons are on trial over the kidnap.
Hopefully, this stiff penalty given would lessen the cases of people being kidnapped. And looking forward for the adoption on a national level in every state.
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