The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday passed a bill aimed at checking the spate of kidnapping in the state into law, with stiffer penalties including death sentence for offenders. The lawmakers passed the Bill for a Law to Provide for the Prohibition of the Act of Kidnapping and for Other Connected Purposes after the third reading.
The passage of the bill was also sequel to the adoption of a report presented by Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC).
Sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, it prescribes death sentence for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody and life sentence for kidnappers whose victims do not die in the hands of their abductors.
The bill states that any person who kidnaps, abducts, detains, captures or takes another person by any means or trick with intent to demand ransom or do anything against his/her will, commits an offence.
The bill also stipulates life imprisonment for anyone who makes an attempt to kidnap another person.
The bill prescribes seven years imprisonment for anyone making false representation to release a kidnapped or abducted person.
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.
The bill prescribes penalty for any person, who knowingly or wilfully allows or permits his premises, building or a place or belonging to which he has control of, to be used for the purpose of keeping a person kidnapped.
According to the bill, such a person is guilty of an offence under the law and liable to 14 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The speaker, who read the 20 sections of the bill one after the other for members’ approval, conducted a voice vote before its passage.
Obasa directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, to forward a clean copy of the bill to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode for assent.
Lagos State has recorded recurrent cases of kidnappings, with the incident affecting students in two schools in 2016. In February 2016, three schoolgirls were seized from Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary, Ikorodu, but were later freed by the police.
In October, gunmen stormed the Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Ikorodu, and took away the vice principal, a teacher and four students. They were also rescued after several days.
Kidnappers also stormed the palace of a traditional ruler, the Oniba of Iba, Yishau Goriola Oseni, in July and abducted him.
His release was later secured and several persons are on trial over the kidnap.
The House also adopted the recommendations of its Committee on Youths and Sports on a Bill for a Law to Provide for the Establishment of the Lagos State Sports Commission and for Connected Purpose after a debate.
The bill, seeking to create a commission for sports in the state to administer sporting activities, provides for the constitution of board members, duties and responsibilities, among others.