By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to make it criminal to pay ransom to kidnappers in Nigeria, saying this move is to “discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom,” which it noted was “fast spreading across the country.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, while presenting a bill to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill 2022 today, stated that “having policies in place to combat the financing of terrorism will surely reduce or eliminate privacy and anonymity in financial and other sundry transactions as it relates to the subject in our society.”
When signed into law by the President, the lawmaker said it would be against the law to make payment to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.
Mr Bamidele disclosed that in the memoranda presented to the committee, a plethora of issues relating to the subject matter of terrorism and terrorism financing in line with global best practices were raised.
He assured that the amendment to the Terrorism Act would set standards and regulatory system intended to prevent terrorist groups from laundering money through the banking system and other financial networks.
The Senator from Ekiti State explained further that the need to comprehensively review the Terrorism Prevention Act arose from the unfavourable ratings of Financial Act Task Force (FATF) recommendations of Nigeria’s Mutual Evaluation Report and consequent placement of Nigeria in FATF’S International Cooperation and Review Group Process with its impending sanctions on Nigeria’s economy.
He stated that the National Task Force on improving Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime in Nigeria, a proposed improvement on the Act in order to address the deficiencies noted in its provisions so as to align with the required standard as obtainable in other jurisdictions.
The former Commissioner in Lagos State emphasised that the proposed repeal and enactment Bill was geared towards improving the effectiveness of countermeasures against terrorism, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.
The lawmaker noted that the repeal is aimed at providing an adequate framework for improved international collaboration, inter-agency cooperation and freezing of terrorist funds/assets.
Mr Bamidele said that, “the passage of this Bill will save Nigeria from being included among countries in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List with its attendant negative consequences, which might ultimately result to international sanctions that would affect the image of the country in the comity of nations.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks after the bill was passed, said the bill would complement the federal government’s efforts in the fight against insecurity when signed into law by the President.
“It is our belief here in the Senate, that this bill, by the time signed into an Act by Mr President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and other associated and related vices.
“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security situation in Nigeria but even the economic fortunes of our country.
“We have done so much as a government, in terms of infrastructural development across all parts of this country, but because the security situation is not the kind of situation that we all want, this tends to overshadow all the tremendous and massive developments in our country.
“I believe that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law, and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon by the Senate, and, indeed, the National Assembly and, for the reason for which it would also be signed by Mr President.
“Let me make it very clear here, that the fight against insecurity, whether it is kidnapping, terrorism or whatsoever, is not the sole role of a government.
“The contribution and support by citizens are essential because our security agencies need vital and critical information against terrorism and other things that make life difficult for us,” he stated.
IGP Authorises Stop & Search, Raids, Others to Tackle Crime
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of adequate security around schools, hospitals, and critical national infrastructures across the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the IGP has also ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality in some states of the federation.
“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of water-tight security arrangements to cover all schools, hospitals, health workers, and critical national infrastructures around the country,” the statement added.
“The IGP has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation,” it further said.
Mr Baba gave the directive while reviewing the reports he received from various commands and formations on the general security situations across the country.
He tasked strategic police managers at various levels to prioritize the use of intelligence gathering networks while charging officers and men of the force to take the fight against crime to the doorsteps of suspected criminal elements with a view to flushing them from their hideouts.
The IGP also called for the cooperation of members of the public, warning police officers to be civil, professional, and humane in the course of discharging their duties.
SERAP Begs INEC to Allow 7 million Nigerians Complete Voter Registration
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow seven million Nigerians to complete their voter registration.
SERAP made the call in a statement on Sunday through its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, warning that the failure of the electoral body to grant this request could attract legal action.
According to the rights group, INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at physical centres.
SERAP believes that the right to vote is also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that it can be effectively exercised.
“The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised,” the statement read.
“Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.
“Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters,” it submitted.
The organisation noted that, “According to a report released by INEC, out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 Nigerians representing 32.8 per cent, completed the process at a physical centre. 7,043,594 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration but are yet to complete the process at a physical centre.
“This represents over 67 per cent of those who began their registration process online.
“According to INEC, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration; 8,854,566 of which were persons who did their registration entirely at a physical centre.
“The over seven million Nigerians have already completed their registration online, that is, via INEC online portal by providing their biodata and required documents.”
FG Threatens CCECC Over Drawback in Rail Contract
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has threatened to sanction the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for not meeting up with the agreement of providing 85 per cent of rail project costs in a move that could signify friction.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Sambo, at the inspection of the Lekki Deep Seaport on Saturday in Lagos.
According to Mr Sambo, the projects are the Kano-Kaduna and the Maiduguri-Port Harcourt rail lines.
“The CCECC has not brought anything to the table. I gave them a deadline which is October 30, if I don’t get that money on the ground, I know what to advise Mr President to do,” he said.
He expressed satisfaction with the Lekki Deep Seaport project, noting that the initiatives were to ensure the smooth evacuation of cargo at the port.
He said that for part-time, the road was being expanded, adding that the government was looking into it, and for medium-term, barges would take care of it.
“I am impressed and happy to be back here. This we know is the pride of all Nigerians, the first deep seaport in West Africa that will take the largest ship in the world has 16.5 meters deep, and will give us hundreds and thousands of jobs.
“Almost automated not fully but automated enough to make life easy for port operations.
“It is initiatives like this we want to encourage, that is why I did not hesitate when I came to the ministry and I saw a proposal of the Badagry Deep Seaport sitting on my table and took it immediately for approval.
“Also, the president is concerned about cargo evacuation at the port and does not want a repeat of the Apapa and TinCan port and so we cannot rely on the road alone which is not the best option.
“There is a need to sit down with stakeholders to see how to tackle this,” he said.
He pointed out that cargo evacuation was not just within the port but outside the port, as goods must reach the final destination.
“First of all, you save a lot of time at the port because of automation and modern technology and equipment.
“After the port what happens, it only makes sense when the goods get to the shipper or owner. And to do that, you need to move either by rail, water, or road,” he said.
Mr Sambo urged the management of the port to employ as many Nigerians as possible as this was the only way citizens could put food on the table for their families.
On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, noted that the Lekki Deep Seaport was one of the first solutions to reducing traffic at Apapa and TinCan.
According to Mr Bello-Koko, the automation deployed at the port is commendable and fantastic as the processes will be free of human interference.
He said that the Apapa and TinCan port would still be viable, adding that what they had done was to create alternatives for importers and exporters as to where they would decide to do business.
“The operators of those ports should also up their game, and improve their speed in terms of cargo clearance or otherwise.
“Feasibility studies have shown that these ports will still be viable in future like 10, 15 years, the government can decide to turn some of these ports into a real estate, we have some of them in Europe,” Mr Bello-Koko said.
Mr Du Ruogang, the Managing Director, Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Ltd. (Lekki Port), said that the port was 95 per cent completed, adding that they would meet the targeted time.
Mr Ruogang appreciated the NPA for deploying marine services such as tug, pilot, lines, boats and harbour master before the operations of the port.
Latest News on Business Post
- SFS Capital Unveils App for Easy Mutual Fund Investment August 15, 2022
- Interswitch Launches API Platform for Developers August 15, 2022
- Meta Warns Users About Malware in Fake YouTube, WhatsApp Apps August 15, 2022
- Oyoko Primary School: An Avoidable Saga August 15, 2022
- Exxon Mobil Extends OMLs 133, 138 Deals in Nigeria for 20 Years August 15, 2022
- Russia Scrambles for Higher Performance Marks in Africa August 15, 2022
- Second CMC Meeting of SEC in 2022 Holds Thursday August 15, 2022
- Old English Supermarket Opens New Outlet in Surulere August 15, 2022
- Nigeria’s Inflation Jumps 17-Year High to 19.64% August 15, 2022
- Four Ways Young Nigerians Can Enhance Their Digital Skills for Free August 15, 2022