Wednesday May 4 marks the day the Senate enacted a law which prescribes the death sentence for kidnappers across Nigeria.
This development followed the recommendations of the report by the Joint Committee on Police Affairs, National Security and Intelligence, on the incessant kidnapping and hostage taking in the country, entitled , “A National Wake-Up Call.”
The Senate also asked state governments to enact laws that would prosecute kidnappers and other crime-related offences in their jurisdiction and recommended that the Inspector General of Police and Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, in particular as well as other security agencies be encouraged to do more.
The death sentence as approved by the Senate was recommended by Senator Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi Central) as an additional recommendation after six resolutions were already adopted by the lawmakers.
Senates resolved that funding of security agencies be taken as a priority project, bearing in mind that practice of envelop budgetary for security agencies had proved ineffective, adding that efforts should be put in place to create employment opportunities for the nation’s teaming unemployed youths.
It also agreed that security agencies should embark on training and retraining of their personnel for effective capacity building. They informed that synergy and information sharing between security agencies should be pursued vigorously. Speaking out of experience on the ‘death sentence’ law, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, noted that family members of kidnapped persons suffer psychological trauma.
According to him:
“Just recently, one of my relations also was kidnapped. So, I believe I am talking as an expert or an experienced person in kidnapping. I know the psychology of kidnappers because I stayed for two days with them.
“These are normal human beings who are sometimes looking for money and also afraid of security agencies. I think there are three types of kidnappers. There are some who kidnapped either to make a statement or to intimidate the government, like the Boko Haram people and the Niger Delta militants.
“Then there is another type of kidnappers, these are just normal armed robbers. Sometimes, they just kidnapped you, put you in the boot and they can even use the vehicle as an escape or they use it to rob.
“Such kidnappers, once they succeed, it’s either they take away the vehicle, use it or they dump their victim. But the third type, which is very dangerous, is the professional kidnappers, who kidnapped for money and that is the one we are focusing on this afternoon.
“We have encouraged this type of kidnapping because we panic and pay money most times. This kind of kidnappers, when they take you, they put you somewhere else and they can refer you to negotiate so that they can set you free and go for another business.
“Most times, our people are reluctant to delay or endure the inconvenience or the hardship and then they quickly negotiate and if we can discourage this kind of kidnappings, the only way forward is to insist that you will not pay.”
Other Senators who contributed to the the report, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa Ibom), expressed regret on the escalated incidents of kidnapping in Nigeria. He recalled the kidnapping of ex-governor and now Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige in 2002.
Also in his contribution, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), recommended firing squad for kidnappers.