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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.

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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”.

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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).

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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.

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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.

‘LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF SMALL ARMS’

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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.

‘JAIL TERM FOR PAYMENT OF RANSOM WITHOUT APPROVAL FROM GOVERNMENT’

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.

‘ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL COURTS’

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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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FAD boss, Temitope Duker, losses dad, Hon. Ayodele Benjamin

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Honourable Ayodele Benjamin, a distinguished chieftain and party leader of the ruling Lagos All Progressive Congress (APC) political party passed away on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at the age of 78.

Throughout his illustrious life, Hon. Benjamin served his community and country with unwavering dedication and distinction.

His numerous esteemed positions included being elected Councillor in the late 80s, former Vice Chairman, and later Acting Chairman of the Lagos Island Local Government Council, former Chairman of the Lagos Football Association, former Board member of the Lagos State Sports Council, and former State Treasurer of the Social Democratic Party.

Hailing from the esteemed Benjamin family of Olowogbowo in Lagos Island, the late politician left behind a legacy of service and commitment to the betterment of his community. His contributions to public service and sports development will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him.

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Until his death, he was also a community leader, philanthropist, and devoted Christian, who worshipped at the Methodist Church Olowogbowo Lagos, a generational church of the Benjamin family.

His dedication to faith and service touched many lives, creating a lasting impact on those around him.

In a statement released on behalf of the family, Hon. Benjamin’s daughter, Mrs. Temitope Duker, a filmmaker and co-founder of FAD MEDIA GROUP, which owns FAD FM 93.1 in Calabar, FAD FM 101.7 in Abuja, and FAD 360TV, announced that final burial details will be communicated in due course following a family meeting.

Hon. Ayodele Benjamin is survived by his loving wife, daughter, and three grandchildren. The family requests that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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ICYMI: No agreement yet on minimum wage – NLC

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ICYMI: No agreement yet on minimum wage – NLC

Organised Labour has rejected President Bola Tinubu’s claims that an agreement has been reached on new national minimum wages in his nationwide broadcast to make Democracy Day.

Tinubu had claimed that a consensus had been reached on the long-debated new minimum wage between the Federal Government and organised labour.

Also read: Minimum wage talks collapse again as Labour rejects N60,000

In his national broadcast to mark the 2024 Democracy Day in Abuja on Wednesday, Tinubu revealed that an executive bill will soon be sent to the National Assembly to formalise the new minimum wage agreement.

The President emphasised that his administration chose a democratic approach over dictatorship in addressing the demands of labour unions.

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However, in a statement on Wednesday, the acting President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said there was no agreement reached by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage at the time negotiations ended on Friday, June 7, 2024.

Adeyanju stated that rather, two figures such as N250,000 from Organised Labour and N62,000 from the government and Organised Private Sector, were arrived at and ought to have been submitted to the President.

The labour leader asserted that anything to the contrary was not only doctored but won’t be accepted by Labour.

The statement reads, “We reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation Wage. We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty.

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“The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) attentively listened to the Democracy Day Presidential address delivered by His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially concerning the ongoing National Minimum Wage negotiations. While the President may have accurately recounted parts of our democratic journey’s history, it is evident that he has been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.

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“To quote Mr. President; “As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you. In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict. No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“We appreciate the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups. However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who were in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonize the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.

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“The NLC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.

“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement. We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC. There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix-up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage. We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.

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“President’s advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed. It is therefore important that Mr. President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent. Series of media Propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government.

“Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the Government and despite denials, recent statements by senior officials of the Government reaffirmed our fears contrary to the assurances by the Government. However, we remain assured that the President’s democratic credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses.”

This response comes after President Tinubu’s address, which indicated a resolution had been achieved on the wage discussions, thereby causing confusion and discontent among the ranks of Organised Labour.

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The President speaking on his plan to fix the economy so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour, said, “In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

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“No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.”

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Inspector sentenced to death for killing phone dealer

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The Delta State High Court sitting at Asaba on Tuesday sentenced Inspector Ubi Ebri of the Nigeria Police Force to death on a murder charge.

The court presided over by Justice C. D. Diai convicted and sentenced the Inspector to death for killing a phone dealer, Mr Onyeka Ibeh, in Asaba.

 

Also read: Delta police arrest inspector for shooting boy during stop and search

 

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Ibeh, a popular phone dealer in Asaba, along with his wife was driving from Ugbolu to Asaba on April 5, 2023, when they were flagged down by the police team for a search.

The deceased was said to have stopped but after waiting for a while to be searched, and they were not being attended to, decided to move away

Infuriated by the action of the deceased, the police inspector immediately opened fire into the vehicle and the bullet hit the late Ibeh on the head and he died on the spot.

The wife of the deceased who sat in the front seat was unhurt.

The killing of the phone dealer led to protests by youths along the streets of Asaba and to police headquarters to demand justice.

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However, the prosecution, led by a director in the Ministry of Justice, Mr E.H. Edema, accused the policeman of killing Ibeh.

Edema alleged that the defendant was part of a police patrol team that mounted a stop and search exercise on April 5, 2023, along the Ugbolu Asaba Road in the state capital.

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Edema who told Journalists after the judgement said, “Today’s judgement is a landmark judgement because justice has been served in this case to the deceased and society at large.”

Also, the elder brother of the deceased, Mr Ifeanyi Ibeh, who witnessed the judgement, also commended the court for delivering justice to his family.

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