Nigerian state makes kidnapping capital offence

Adams-Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole: ordered the arrest of the touts

JETHRO IBILEKE/Benin

Convicted kidnappers in Edo state, southern Nigeria, will henceforth face the death penalty, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said.

The governor who disclosed this Friday in Benin during the signing of the new law prescribing death penalty for kidnappers in the state, stated that government would do everything within its powers to ensure the safety of lives and property of residents of the state.

“I have just signed into law a bill amending the Kidnapping Provision Law 2009 as amended by the state House of Assembly which now prescribes death penalty for anyone who is involved in any form of kidnapping.

“We have had enough laws in our statute books that provide for various degrees of punishment for various offences. I think the real challenge is about law enforcement and dealing with the problem of impunity. Laws will be worthless if we do not have the capacity to apprehend, interrogate, persecute and interrogate criminals and invoke the full weight of the law.

“I am convinced that within the three arms of government of the legislative, the Judiciary and the Executive, we have a responsibility to make laws and enforce those laws in a way that would send clear signals to those involved in acts of criminality whether they are kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists that the security agencies now much more determined than ever before to ensure that this state becomes too hot for criminals to operate,” Oshiomhole said.

While assuring that everything would be done to ensure that the security agencies put a security machinery in place to fight the menace of kidnapping, Oshiomhole disclosed that majority of the criminals arrested in the state are migrants from nieighbouring states and far away who come to perpetuate crime.

He however gave assurance that his government would do everything possible to ensure that criminals are kept in check.

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“I want to assure the good people of Edo State that government is concerned about the state of kidnapping. We share the pain, the agony and trauma which victims of kidnap are all subjected to, but I assure our people that everything is being done to keep these criminals in check.

“Having signed into law the death penalty, let me assure the good people of Edo State that as reluctant as one wants to be in matters of life and death. I am convinced that the overriding public interest dictates that we invoke the maximum penalty available in our law on those involved in the act of kidnapping. Anyone sentenced and convicted, I would sign the death warrant.”

The Governor however disagreed with those who argue that kidnapping is a result of unemployment, saying “no one should try to trivialise very complex issues,” just as he aded that coordinated effort was needed to deal with the problem of crime in Nigeria.

Commenting on his power as chief security of the state, Oshiomhole said as governor, he does not have the power to deal with any security officer who might have misbehaved or through whose negligence the people might have been exposed to any criminal act.

“At best, we are able to provide resources and equipment as we have tried to do within our limited resources in spite of the fact that the language, the letter and the spirit of the constitution is clear that security matters are federal issues which is why the federal government continues to have monopoly of the police and of all the armed forces and the state security services. None of these comes under the control of the state government”, he said.

“I am convinced as a matter of fact that the Federal Government is doing its best to arm and equip the police and the other security agencies. There are no quick-fix solutions to the issue of crime. Criminals are not in limited number that you exterminate and go and sleep”, he added.

He assured the people that government is doing everything to make the state uncomfortable for criminals.

Edo state in the last few months had recorded kidnapping of prominent Nigerians, such as the wife and daughter of a Supreme Court judge, a prominent lawyer, teachers, medical doctors, and even politicians.