Segun Awofadeji in Gombe
Anybody found guilty of kidnapping in Gombe State now stand the risk of capital punishment, when Governor Inuwa Yahaya signs into law, Gombe State Kidnapping and Abduction Prohibition Law, 2020.
Gombe State House of Assembly wednesday passed the bill into law.
Speaking at wednesday’s plenary, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Abubakar Ibrahim, said the governor has been eagerly waiting to assent the bill into law.
In an interview shortly after the Assembly passed the bill, the speaker explained that what prompted the bill was the prevalence of kidnappings in the state.
He said: “We, the legislators, felt we should do something to 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 or writing letters. Any one 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 Yahaya will assent to this bill immediately just like he has been promising. One of his major concerns is the security of Gombe State,” he said.
The speaker added that “Adamwa and Taraba states have all passed such a bill into law, making most of these kidnappers to move their base into Gombe State, since we didn’t have that law yet.”
According to him, “The laws we had were those that had to do with abduction of teenagers, child molestation and so forth. But we didn’t have specific laws dealing with kidnapping in Gombe State, for such act comes in various ways. That is why the law captured all the ways and manners kidnappings are being 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 with this law that captures virtually all the strategies in which people are kidnapped and made to pay ransom.”
Apart from 20-year imprisonment with no option of fines, the law stipulates 10-year imprisonment with no option of fines for different offences relating to kidnapping.
The stiffest punishment of death penalty 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.”