A bill to criminalise payment of ransom in Nigeria has passed second reading in the Senate on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Leading debate on the bill on Wednesday, Senator Francis Onyewuchi (Imo East – PDP), said it seeks to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 with a new section which criminalises payment of ransom to kidnappers and terrorists with 15 years imprisonment.
The lawmaker lamented that hostage-taking has become a lucrative business in Nigeria and is now the most pervasive violent crime across all geopolitical zones.
He said instead of fueling the kidnapping industry with ransom payments, Nigerians should provide necessary information to authorities for the rescue of hostages.
“The wisest thing for government to do would be to keep an eye on statistics because these show that buying out one victim strengthens and encourages kidnappers, and thus puts many more people at risk.
“The continuous payment of ransom must not be encouraged,” he said.
Kidnapping for ransom in the country has especially spiked over the past couple of years.
Nigerian geopolitical intelligence firm, SBM Intelligence, in a recent report estimated that about $18.3 million was paid as ransom between 2011 and 2020.
Source – Pulse Nigeria