I want to urge members of the National Assembly to start the debate for the legalisation of the death penalty for kidnappers in the country. This is the right thing to do at this moment, considering the frightening dimension this evil act is taking in the country.
I want to commend the Lagos State House of Assembly for passing the law to make kidnapping punishable by the death penalty. This will go a long way in bringing about a reduction in this crime. We should, however, not allow international organisations like the Amnesty International, and the European Union (EU) threaten us on our decision to serve the death penalty on convicted kidnappers. Nigeria has a peculiar issue on its hand as far as crime is concerned, and the earlier it is taken with all seriousness, the better.
We have heard stories of workers kidnapping their bosses, and we have heard the story of a brother kidnapping his sister’s children. All these happened because the criminals felt they could obtain some money from their victims.
We should also realise that some people have now taken it to be their ‘business,’ looking for high-profile people in the society as their targets.
The abduction of a traditional ruler in Lagos, the wife of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, and several others should serve as a pointer to the fact that the situation will degenerate further if no concrete step is taken now to curb the activities of these kidnappers. In fact, the current hardship being felt by Nigerians is aiding the increase in the crime rate, and it is, therefore, high time for the National Assembly to began the debate on punishing kidnappers with the death penalty. We all know that extra-ordinary situations demand extra-ordinary measures, and this is why it is important that the legislative arm of government come up with the punishment to be meted to those who involve themselves in kidnapping.
Consequently, the National Assembly can order the establishment of a special court for trying kidnapping cases at accelerated pace. This will enable justice to be dispensed as fast as possible to the criminals.
It is also important for the relevant agencies of government to start sensitising the youth that kidnapping is a crime, including assisting kidnappers. I read the statement from one of the arrested criminals who kidnapped the royal father in Lagos that he didn’t go on the operation to kidnap the Oniba of Iba, but his assignment was just to feed the royal father. I also read the statement of another accomplice in a kidnapping case that he only accommodated the victim for a night. Therefore, our youths should know that aiding kidnappers is as serious as committing the actual crime.
- Nugwa James,
Lokoja, Kogi State.