Home International News Africa NIGERIA; Paying Ransom Becomes Illegal As Senate Passes Bill Imposing Jail Terms Of At Least 15 Years On Anyone Paying A Ransom
Africa - Business - April 28, 2022

NIGERIA; Paying Ransom Becomes Illegal As Senate Passes Bill Imposing Jail Terms Of At Least 15 Years On Anyone Paying A Ransom

The Nigerian senate has passed a bill imposing jail terms of at least 15 years on anyone paying a ransom to free someone who has been kidnapped.

Critics say the move is unfair as it criminalises people who are desperate to free their relatives.

The new law will also provide the death penalty or life in prison for anyone found guilty of kidnapping.

Opeyemi Bamidele, chairman of the Senate’s judiciary, human rights and legal committee, told the Senate on Wednesday that making ransom payment punishable with lengthy jail sentences would “discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom in Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country”.

The bill, which amends Nigeria’s terrorism law, mandates the death penalty for convicted kidnappers where the abduction leads to loss of life, and life imprisonment in other cases.

Armed gangs operating mostly in northeastern and north-central states of Nigeria have for more than a decade spread terror through kidnappings for ransom, targeting students, villagers and motorists on highways.

For more than a decade, Nigeria has been struggling to deal with a deadly wave of kidnappings for ransom by armed groups.

The bill needs to be debated and passed by the lower house before the president signs it into law – a process that could take weeks or months.

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