Ajimobi okays death penalty for kidnappers



• Police rescue kidnapped doctor in Benue
• Arrest 86 kidnap, armed robbery suspects in Rivers

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has signed into law the new Kidnaping (Prohibition) bill 2016, which stipulates maximum punishment of death sentence for kidnappers whose victim dies in captivity.

However, a convicted offender will be liable to life imprisonment if the victim is released or rescued unhurt upon the payment of a ransom, while the kidnapper will be compelled to pay back the ransom.

Similar punishment awaits any person who procures, engages or gives information culminating in the kidnapping of a victim, an offence the law considered to carry the same weight of kidnapping.

This is coming as the Police in Benue State yesterday evening rescued a consultant with the Federal Medical Center, Makurdi, Dr. Godwin Abah, who was abducted last Friday in Otukpo by yet to be identified assailants.

Making the disclosure to The Guardian, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, ASP. Moses Yamu said the victim was rescued in Otukpo from his abductors following a tip off and has since been reunited to his family.

The Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Center, FMC, Makurdi Dr. Peter Inundur who also confirmed the rescue expressed thanks to God Almighty and the police for saving his staff from the hands of the enemies.

In another development, the Rivers State police command has arrested 86 persons suspected to be involved in kidnapping, armed robbery and as well, rescued 17 kidnapped victims in the state.

Parading the suspects before journalists yesterday at the State Police Command Headquarters, the State Commissioner for Police, Musa Kimo, said despite the challenges experienced in the state especially during the re-run elections, officers and men of the command exhibited high level of professionalism in fighting crime.

Represented by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ahmad Muhammad, Kimo disclosed that the suspects were arrested between February till date, a period he described as very stormy and busy due to the National and State Assembly re-run elections.

He explained that the suspects were among the 146 hoodlums arrested within the period, stressing that numerous raids were carried out by the Command on suspected criminals’ hideout across the state, leading to the arrest of the hoodlums.

The bill had earlier been passed into law by the state House of Assembly, following the submission of report by the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary and Justice, Olukayode Akande.

The Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly, Michael Adeyemo and Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the House, Mr. Paul Bankole, had earlier signed the bill before the governor’s assent.

The law prescribes life imprisonment for any person who kidnaps or threatens to kill, maim or cause bodily harm in order to compel another person, corporate body or organization to do or abstain from doing any act as a condition for the release of the victim.

Under the new law, 20 years imprisonment awaits anyone makes an attempt to kidnap, while anybody who aids or abets kidnapping is liable to imprisonment for 15 years upon conviction.

Besides, the law stipulates 15 years imprisonment or any non-custodian punishment that may be determined by the court for any person who puts himself forward to be kidnapped for the purpose of extorting ransom from his employer, any person or body.

According to the law, any property owner who knowingly or willingly surrenders his building over which he has control to be used for the purpose of keeping a kidnapped person is liable to 15 years imprisonment, while such property shall be forfeited to the government.

Any person who willingly allows his or her electronics, equipment, instrument, mechanical or movable item to be used for the purpose of kidnapping, aiding or abetting kidnapping has also committed an offence and will be committed to prison for 10 years if convicted.

Similarly, any property, monies and other valuables owned or realized by anybody convicted of the offence of kidnapping shall be forfeited to the government for public use.

According to the law, any person who kidnaps another person by any other means of instilling fear or tricks, with intent to demand ransom or compel another to do anything against his will has committed an office.
It also declares as an offence kidnapping in such a manner as to prevent the victim from disclosing to any other person the place where he is being kept in such a manner as to prevent anybody from having access to him with or without payment of a ransom for his release.

While signing the bill into law at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Ajimobi commended the lawmakers for its accelerated passage, saying that it would help in curbing crime and criminal activities in the state.
The governor vowed to enforce the law to the letter, warning kidnappers to steer clear of the state in their own interest.

Within this period, 17 kidnap victims were rescued by the Command; while 13 suspects were killed during gun duel with security operatives.

Also, 52 robbery suspects were nabbed; 17 were gunned down, while police foiled 18 robbery operations across the state. Similarly, 60 cultists were arrested, while eight were killed.

Among the suspects was a notorious cripple, who was arrested at the weekend, by policemen during their raid in Buguma, headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area of the State.

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