Lawyers differ on penalty for kidnapping

SOME Abuja-based lawyers on Saturday gave different suggestions on the penalty for kidnapping in the country.

The lawyers, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kubwa, Abuja, expressed divergent opinions on the crime.

NAN reports that the lawyers were reacting to increase in the reported cases of kidnap of prominent members of the society.

Mrs Maureen Ajogo, who condemned the act, ascribed it to unemployment, ignorance and poverty.

However, she urged the government to tackle the situation in the same way it did with insurgency, adding that kidnapping falls under insecurity.

“ It is as criminal as terrorism and we have a Terrorism Act which should include all and everything that threatens the security of the society.

“Government must tackle every act of insecurity aggressively and give priority to the well being of its citizenry, not until someone of high profile is involved,’’ she said.

According to Ajogo, death sentence should serve as a deterrent since there have been reported cases of deaths in the cause and even after the act.

Mr Ifeanyi Moses, however, argued that except the act of kidnapping leads to death, the penalty should not be death.

Moses stated that the penalty may not address the situation if there is consistent hardship among the people.

“Government at the moment and government to come must wage war against corruption, create jobs and increase the capacity of the law enforcement officers.

“We have been having firing squads against perpetrators in the past, but the crime has become persistent.

“ So I think to stem the tide, we must begin from the top; we must address and restore our economic, increase the capacity of the criminal justice system, empower the courts to try offenders.

“Even if we do not totally eradicate it, it will stop topping the chart, let us first do the needful,” he said.