Segun Awofadeji in Gombe
Anybody found guilty of kidnapping in Gombe State now stands the risk of losing his life if Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya signs into law, the Gombe State Kidnapping and Abduction Prohibition Law 2020.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Abubakar Sadiq Ibrahim, said Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya has been eagerly waiting to assent to the bill.
In an interview shortly after the House passed the bill Wednesday, the Speaker said what prompted the bill was the prevalence of kidnappings in the state.
He said: “We the state legislature felt we should do something that will protect the lives of our people.
“The bill seeks to prohibit any act, move or attempt that has to do with kidnapping by way of calling somebody on phone, taking someone or persons to hide somewhere by way of sending text messages, writing letters, anybody that attempts to kidnap somebody or to send fear into somebody relating to kidnapping or abduction is punishable under this law.
“We hope and pray that Governor Inuwa Yahaya will assent to this bill immediately just like he has been promising. One of his major concerns is the security of Gombe State.”
According to Ibrahim, “Our neighbours in Adamawa and Taraba States have all passed such a bill, making most of these kidnappers to move their base to Gombe, since we didn’t have that law yet.
“The laws we had were those that had to do with abduction of teenagers, child molestation and so forth. But we didn’t have spelt out laws dealing with kidnapping in Gombe State because it comes in various ways. That is why the law has captured all the ways and manners which kidnappings are done.
“The previous laws that we had, had nothing to do with most of these issues. So we sat down and looked at the issue critically and then came up with this law that captures virtually all the strategies in which people are kidnapped and made to pay ransom.”
Apart from 20 years with no option of fines, 10 years with no option of fines for different offences relating to kidnapping, the stiffest punishment of death reads thus: “Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person by any other means in order that such person may be killed or may be so disposed of as to be put in danger of being killed or with intent to demand ransom shall be punished with death.”