Senate rejigs Terrorism Act, outlaws payment of ransom

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A bill seeking to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, and prohibit the payment of ransom to kidnappers in Nigeria has been passed by the Senate.

The passage followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters. Panel chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), laid the report for consideration.

While presenting the report, he said the bill seeks to outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers, and terrorists for the release of any person wrongfully confined, imprisoned, or kidnapped.

According to the lawmaker, “the overall import of this bill is to discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom in Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country.”

He disclosed that in the memoranda presented to the committee, issues relating to terrorism and its financing were raised.
Bamidele assured Nigerians that amendment to the Act would revolutionize the banking sector.

He stated that the National Task Force on improving Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime in Nigeria proposed improvement in the Act to address the deficiencies noted in its provisions to align with the required standards, as obtainable in other jurisdictions.

He stressed that the proposed legislation was to improve the effectiveness of countermeasures against terrorism, financing, and proliferation.

The lawmaker noted that the repeal “is aimed at providing an adequate framework for improved international collaboration, inter-agency cooperation and freezing of terrorists’ funds/assets.”

IN another development, controversy broke out, yesterday, among senators of the two major parties, following the defection of Senator Ibrahim Danbaba, representing Sokoto South from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC).
Danbaba confirmed his exit in a letter addressed to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, read at plenary.

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