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Lawyers support death penalty for kidnappers

Some lawyers have lauded the Lagos State House of Assembly for passing into law, the bill stipulating death penalty for the offence of kidnapping.

The lawyers said that the measure would serve as a workable deterrence to kidnappers in Nigeria.

On January 5, the Lagos State House of Assembly passed into law, a bill aimed at checking the spate of kidnapping with stiffer penalties, including death sentence for offenders.

The bill which was passed after its third reading, was sequel to the adoption of a report presented by Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.

Death sentence

Sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, the bill prescribes death sentence for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody and life sentence for kidnappers whose victims did not die in the hands of their abductors.”

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.

A constitutional lawyer and social critic, Mr Spurgeon Ataene expressed satisfaction on the passage of the law, saying it is a welcome development.

Kidnapping has become a cancerous scourge in Nigeria, so it is a welcome development to insert the death penalty in our criminal jurisprudence.

The idea behind this I believe is to curb this menace, which I strongly believe will serve and achieve its purpose.

Within a narrow perspective this is one way, but in a broader sense making kidnapping a capital offence in a few states is not enough.

Some of these dare devil criminals will trail their victims to states without the death sentence and strike or relocate to such areas, to make their criminal activities more robust, he explained.

Government policy

Ataene stated that the most effective way to checkmate kidnapping was for government to make it a policy for all states to insert the death penalty in their criminal laws.

According to him, good governance is also the panacea to some of these vices.

Similarly, a member of the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs Viviene Ekwegh, also commended the Lagos assembly for its decision.

Ekwegh said that most Nigerians have suffered from the vice of kidnapping which had either affected their friends or relatives.

I support the bill but this can only be possible where they are tried in a competent courtAlthough the menace may not be completely eradicated, it will also help reduce it to its barest minimum, and forestall incidences of innocent people being made victims of crimes they are ignorant of, she said

Ekwegh said that it should be replicated in other jurisdictions.

Another constitutional lawyer, Mr Emenike Umuziruigbo said I heaved a sigh of relief when I heard this; In fact, this is the only penalty I perceived that will serve as deterrence to abductors.

However, I think it should not just begin and end in Lagos State, but should also be made to cut across several other states of the federation.”

According to him, development and advancement will thrive better in a crime-free society.

Source: Voice of Nigeria