House Moves to Strengthen Anti-Terrorism Laws

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• Categorises kidnapping, pipeline vandalism as terrorist acts
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday passed through second reading, a bill seeking to stipulate penalties for all offences relating to terrorism, and criminalise financing terrorism, in addition to categorising kidnapping and pipeline vandalism as acts of terrorism.

The bill seeks to commit to life imprisonment, convicted terrorists, instead of the 20 to 25 years option prescribed by the current anti terrorism laws.

It further defines terrorism in broader terms to mean a deliberate act of malice, which may cause harm/damage to a country, its government, economy, international organisations or claim lives.

Sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (Borno APC) and Hon. Ahmed Kaita (Katsina APC), the bill is named as a “bill for an act to make provision for the offences relating to terrorism, prohibit the financing of terrorism and consolidate all acts relating to terrorism and for related matters.”

It seeks to repeal the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) 2013.
If passed into law, the new bill, would address all concerns in both Acts, and address new situations hitherto not contemplated.

The bill criminalises international terrorism, funds supporting terrorism and seizure of terrorist cash and property involved.

It also contemplates dealing with charities linked to terrorists, and requests from foreign states and to foreign states on extradition of persons involved in terrorism.
Leading the argument, Monguno said the terrorism Act 2011 did not contemplate the financing of terrorism in Nigeria, which the amended Act of 2013 provided for.

The implication here is that resort is made to two laws on terrorism in Nigeria: the terrorism Act of 2011 and the Terrorism Amended Act of 2013, which make it difficult in terms of use consultations,” the lawmaker said.

Under the proposed law, facilitating escape for a terrorism suspect would also attract a life prison sentence, while sponsors of terrorism would also bag life imprisonment. The new law also prescribes punishment for participating in planning terrorist acts, even if the act is not eventually committed.

Section 19 of the  bill states, “A person who knowingly, directly or indirectly (a) aids and abets, (b) induces, instigates, instructs (c) counsels or procures another person by means to commit an act of terrorism, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to life imprisonment.”

The bill also classifies kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, and the use of biological or chemical weapons as terrorism.

“…Interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life,” it read.