Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate wednesday resolved to enact a bill that would make provisions for death penalty as the punishment for anyone caught in the act of kidnapping.
The resolution followed the adoption of a report by the Joint Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence presented by its Chairman, Senator Abu Ibrahim.
The Senate had on November 19, 2015, asked the committee to engage the Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase, and Director-General of Department of State Services (DSS), Mamman Daura, on recurrent cases of kidnapping and hostage taking, and recommend its findings to the chamber.
The committee also recommended adequate funding of security agencies and advised the federal government to ensure that deliberate efforts are made towards creating employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths.
The Senate also tasked security agencies to embark on training and retraining of security personnel for effective capacity building. It charged state governments to make laws that will enable security agencies prosecute kidnappers and culprits of related offences in their respective domains.
The Senate also canvassed the need for synergy and intelligence sharing among security agencies just as it advocated the need to encourage the IG and DG of DSS to be more committed.
However, the committee observed that security agencies had been unable to perform optimally as a result of inadequate funding which it said deprived them of the opportunity to procure modern technology and equipment.
The committee further noted what it described as “unnecessary and unhealthy rivalry among the security agencies leading to lack of required synergy and intelligence sharing on time,” adding that “Relations of the victims are always ready to pay ransom which tend to encourage the criminals.”
In his contribution, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, noted that kidnapping became popular after former Anambra State Governor and incumbent Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, was kidnapped in 2002. Also yesterday, a bill seeking a five-year jail term for lecturers in tertiary institutions who exploit their vantage positions to subject female students to sexual harassment passed first reading.
Tagged ‘Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill, 2016’, the bill is sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central).
The bill which is co-sponsored by 45 other senators “makes it a criminal offence for any educator in a university, polytechnic or any other tertiary educational institution who violate or exploit the student-lecturer fiduciary relationship for sexual pleasures.”
Commenting on the bill, Omo-Agege said the bill made it mandatory for any vice chancellor, provost and rector of a university, polytechnic and college of education to promptly act on the report of any sexual harassment by a female student, failing which he said such authority would be jailed for two years.
He said: “The bill imposes stiff penalties on offenders in its overall objective of providing tighter statutory protection for students against sexual hostility and all forms of sexual harassment in tertiary schools.
“The bill provides a compulsory five-year jail term for lecturers who sexually harass students. When passed into law, vice chancellors of universities, rectors of polytechnics and other chief executives of institutions of higher learning will go to jail for two years if they fail to act within a week on complaints of sexual harassment made by students.
“The bill expressly allows sexually harassed students, their parents, or guardians to seek civil remedies in damages against sexual predator lecturers before or after their successful criminal prosecution by the state. The bill also seeks protection from sexual harassment for prospective students seeking admissions into higher educational institutions, students of generally low mental capacity andphysically challenged students.”