NewsReps new bill proposes 15-year prison sentence for victims...

Reps new bill proposes 15-year prison sentence for victims found paying ransom


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The House of representatives is considering a bill seeking to provide compensation for victims of kidnapping.

The proposed legislation titled: ‘Control of Small Arms, Light Weapons and Restitution of Victims of Abduction, Kidnappings, Banditry Bill, 2022’, passed first reading at the lower legislative chamber on Tuesday.

The bill is sponsored by Tajudeen Adefisoye, a lawmaker from Ondo state.

Last month, the federal government released a gazette proscribing bandits as terrorists in Nigeria.

The development came about two months after a federal high court in Abuja declared the activities of bandit groups in the country as acts of terrorism — after several calls by Nigerians.

In a 25-page bill monitored by TheHeute, the proposed legislation seeks restitution for “victims of acts of abduction, kidnapping and banditry in Nigeria from the amounts of monies or properties of the offender(s) forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria whether or not the monies or properties are proceeds of the crime committed”.

READ MORE: NUC: 205 universities are insufficient for Nigeria

The bill also seeks to give legal backing to the national centre for the control of small arms and light weapons (NACCSALW).

In May 2021, the federal government established a national centre for the control of small arms and light weapons (NACCSALW).

According to the bill, the office of the national security adviser (ONSA) will supervise the activities of the centre and report to the president.

The centre will also have the responsibility to control dealings in small arms and light weapons and coordinate the compensation of kidnap victims.

Aside from controlling the proliferation of arms, the centre will also serve as an institute where “distinguished academics, policy initiators, captains of industries and resource persons meet to brainstorm and mutually or confidently exchange views or ideas on national or global issues”.

The centre will have the power to investigate and prosecute kidnap suspects or order an agency of government to do so.


Section 11 (1) of the proposed bill states that any person “who without lawful order, permission or authority possesses, uses or causes to be used any small arms or light weapons commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to life imprisonment”, while subsection 2(a) of the same section proposes 20 years jail term for persons who deal illegally in small arms or light weapons.


Section 11 (5) proposes that “a person who for the time being acts as parent or guardian of the victim(s) of an act of abduction shall not in whatever guise pay ransom for the rescue of the victim(s) without the consent, guidance and approval of the centre first sought and obtained”, otherwise, such person “shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than 5 years or fine of five million naira”.

Meanwhile, a similar bill was introduced at the senate, which proposed 15-year jail term for anyone who pays ransom.


According to the document, the bill also seeks to facilitate the prosecution of kidnap cases by the establishment of a special court.

Section 3 of the bill gives the court the powers to exercise the judicial powers vested in the federal or state high courts and shall have one jurisdiction in the federal capital territory (FCT) only with at least 12 courtrooms.


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