House of Reps proposes tough punishment for terrorists, kidnappers

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

The House of Representatives has resolved to prescribe tougher penalties for terrorism, which may include life imprisonment, seizure of cash and property anywhere in the world.

In a similar way, anyone who facilitates or aids the escape of a suspect held for an act of terrorism and sponsors of terrorism shall also face life imprisonment as those who commit the crime.

These prescriptions are part of the two consolidated bills which have passed second reading before the House at its plenary on Tuesday.

The bills are “a bill for an act to make provisions for offences relating to terrorism, prohibit the financing of terrorism and consolidate all acts relating to terrorism and related matters” and “a bill for an act to amend the terrorism act 2011 for the purpose of applying stringent prison terms for offences of terrorism, and remove the ambiguities in the act and related matters.”

The bills, sponsored by Mohammed Tahir Monguno and Ahmed Babba Kaita sought to repeal the existing terrorism (prohibition) law and make entirely new provisions for offences, and also sought to amend the extant law by strengthening it.

Monguno, who is from Borno State, one of the areas devastated by the activities of Boko Haram, told members that the consolidated bill will surely checkmate terrorism in the country.

“The essence of the bill is to come up with a single act to address all terrorism issues, including kidnapping, pipeline vandalism among others,” Munguno added.

In the bill, Section 19 of the Monguno’s bill states that “A person who knowingly, directly or indirectly (a) aids and abets, (b) induces, instigates, instructs, (c) counsels or procures another person by means to commit an act of terrorism, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to life imprisonment.”

According to the bill, terrorism means any “deliberate” act of “malice”, which may cause harm/damage to a country, its government, economy, national assets, international organisations or result in loss of lives.

The use of biological or chemical weapons, kidnapping and other related offenses are classified as terrorism under the bill.

It also includes “interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life.”