A new law to make kidnapping punishable by death, was yesterday passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, This day newspaper reports
The Anti-Kidnapping Bill, entitled “The Akwa Ibom State Internal Security and Enforcement Bill 2009”, made provision for life imprisonment for any person who attempts to kidnap somebody, as well as 21-year imprisonment as punishment for any person who assists the escape of a kidnapper or terrorist.
A motion to pass the bill into law with effective date from yesterday was moved by Hon. Samuel Ikon, seconded by Hon. Jack Udota and unanimously adopted by the House presided over by the Speaker, Hon. Ignatius Edet.
It also prescribes life imprisonment for any person, who with intent to maim, kill, do some grievous harm to any person, unlawfully causes a bomb or any explosive substance to explode, puts any destructive or any corrosive fluid or explosive at or upon any person or otherwise applies any such fluid or explosive substance to any person or sends or delivers any bomb or explosive substance to any person.
Again, any person who unlawfully receives or has in his possession bombs and other explosives, not being a member of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, authorised to be in possession of such dangerous weapon or explosives, with intent to do any harm to another, is liable to imprisonment for 14 years without any option of fine.
The same punishment is provided for any person who unlawfully is in possession of materials or substance that can be used in compounding or producing explosives of any sort or for acid bath and for any person who is in possession of dangerous or offensive weapons for the purpose of destruction of lives and property.
Similarly, the law provides 14-year imprisonment without option of fine for any person who is convicted of any of the following offences: causing extreme fear, threatening lives by use of letters, phone calls or other electronic methods or gadgets; threatening to start a fire or cause explosion with the purpose of burning or destroying a building or occupied structure of another; and organizing a system of intimidation, becoming an object of dread or making himself a nuisance.
In addition, the law indicates that any premises where a person is held against his will as a hostage shall be forfeited to the government without the payment of compensation and the governor or his authorised representative shall have power to sign an order authorizing the sealing up of such premises.
The law authorises the governor to demand and collect weekly reports on threats to security from traditional rulers and local government councils in the state and to empower the Nigeria Police Force to break into any premises and seize materials considered militant or terrorist in nature.
The governor is also empowered by the law to prescribe and approve new technology for the storage and dissemination of bio-data or other forensic or scientific method for use by law enforcement agencies and to set minimum security standards for hotels and other public places to be maintained, including CCTV and maintenance of security tapes or other electronic storage device.
The police or other security agencies are authorised by the law to arrest and detain a suspected kidnapper, terrorist or sponsor of violence without warrant.
The law gives any person who believes on reasonable grounds that another person is a kidnapper or terrorist the power to arrest and hand him over to the police at the earliest opportunity.