South-West states plan death penalty, life sentence for kidnappers
Written by Henry on July 20, 2019
South-West governors and state assemblies have resolved to enact laws that will impose capital punishment or life sentence on kidnappers in the region.
Officials of the state governments who spoke on the issue in separate interviews on Friday confirmed this.
They spoke against the backdrop of rising insecurity in the region, especially the recent killing of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, by yet to be identified gunmen.
Already, Lagos and Ogun states have passed a law imposing death penalty on kidnappers.
The Deputy Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr Iroju Ogundeji, said a bill recommending death sentence for kidnappers was already in the Assembly and was awaiting passage.
The lawmaker, who decried the spate of kidnappings and other forms of insecurity in the state, said the Assembly was not happy with the development, especially the killing of Olakunrin.
Ogundeji said, “We are not happy with the ugly development; we already have a bill stipulating capital punishment for kidnappers and the bill would soon be passed into law.
“The bill entails that anybody found guilty of the kidnapping offence will be sentenced to death.”
The Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, said the assembly would prescribe life imprisonment for kidnapping.
He said he had introduced the bill to the parliament and it would discourage kidnapping because of the stiff penalty recommended.
Owoeye said, “The bill which I introduced in June to curb the menace of kidnapping has passed first reading. The bill titled “State of Osun Kidnapping (Prohibition Bill), 2019 recommends life imprisonment for perpetrators of the dastardly act.
“The bill has passed first reading but the House has decided to conduct public hearings so as to get the input of critical stakeholders as well as kidnap victims.
“On the issue of death penalty, when the victim of kidnap dies in the process of kidnapping, it is simply a murder charge; and it will be repetitive to introduce new laws considering there are enacted laws in place to deal with the issue.”
The Ekiti State House of Assembly has also called for a review of existing laws on kidnapping and banditry with the imposition of more stringent penalties for the offences.
The Speaker, Funminiyi Afuye, said a law for “very stiff penalties” would be passed “after a meeting of all stakeholders in the South-West.”
Although she said the state House of Assembly would not support death sentence for kidnappers, she stressed, “For now, very stiff penalty is okay.”
Also, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, said consultations were ongoing over the spate of kidnappings in order to get an enabling law that would cater for all the six states in the South-West.
Recall that all the six state assemblies in the zone recently converged on Ibadan for a security summit and agreed to tackle the issue in the zone.
According to Ogundoyin, what the assembly had at the moment “and which is coming up next Tuesday for first reading is the anti- (open) grazing law.
“On the issue of whether there would be death penalty for killer herdsmen or kidnappers, we are going to take a common position on that with other state assemblies in the zone,” he said.