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Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting Ransom Payment

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Senate Amends Electoral Act

A bill seeking to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, which will prohibit the payment of ransom to kidnappers in Nigeria was passed on Wednesday.

The passage of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022, followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters.

The report was laid by the Committee’s Chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), before consideration.

Bamidele, in his presentation, said the bill seeks to outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers, and terrorists for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, improper.

According to the lawmaker, “the overall import of this bill is to discourage the rising spate of kidnapping and abduction for ransom In Nigeria, which is fast spreading across the country.”

He disclosed that in the memoranda presented to the committee, the plethora of issues relating to the subject matter of terrorism and terrorism financing in line with global best practices were raised.

He said 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.

READ ALSO: Senate Considers Bill To Prohibit Payment Of Ransom For Kidnapping

He added that, “having policies in place to combat 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.”

He explained further that the need to comprehensively review the Terrorism Prevention Act arose from the unfavorable 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 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.

He emphasised that the proposed repeal and enactment Bill was geared toward improving the effectiveness of action 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.

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 in 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.

READ ALSO: Navy Tells National Assembly Not To Criminalise Ransom Payment

He said, “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.”

The bill was passed by the chamber after it scaled third reading on the floor.

The Senate, thereafter, adjourned the plenary session till May 10, 2022, for the Sallah break.

 

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Police Arrest ESN, IPOB Members, Uncover Shrine With Python

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NEWSPolice Arrest ESN, IPOB Members, Uncover Shrine With Python

Seven suspected members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as well as a live python they used to fortify themselves before attacks have been arrested.

The Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Micheal Abattam, who confirmed this to newsmen in Owerri, said “the Command’s Tactical Teams, on 18/5/2022 at about 0600 hours hastily mobilized when it received credible information that the native doctor who prepares charms for fortifications against bullets and knives for group has returned after fleeing the community.”

Narrating how the Police raided the camps, the police said, “with the positive revelations made in the course of interrogating the suspects earlier arrested in connection with the killing, the team was able to locate the criminal hideout in Ubah Agwa in Oguta LGA of Imo State and immediately cordoned-off the area and tactically went into the den.

“The hoodlums on sighting the police operatives, attempted to escape only to discover that the whole escape routes had been saturated with police operatives hence, they were arrested. ”

He gave the names of the arrested suspects as “Casmire Mgbugha ‘m’ aged 53 years, Hycent Chimezie ‘m’ aged 30 years, Hycent Azunna ‘m’ aged 28 years, Hycent Ifesinachi ‘m’ aged 26 years, Hycent Chimobi ‘m’ aged 23 years, Chukwuemeka Wisdom ‘m’ aged 22 years and Nnadike Clifford ‘m’ aged 72 years.”

The police said on searching the terror camp, the following items were recovered: one Toyota Camry car with registration number AKD 73 BF LAGOS, one live python, eight locally made pistols, eighteen rounds of live cartridges, one Biafra flag, a pair of police camouflage uniform belonging to the late Inspector Felicia Nwagbara ‘f’, who has been declared missing since 2017 by police authorities

READ ALSO: 107 IPOB Members Arrested In Ghana

While coming out of the terror camp, one of the suspects, Hycent Chimezie for the second time, attempted escaping and was maimed on the leg, the police spokesman said.

The police further said the suspects confessed to have murdered the late Inspector Felicia Nwagbara who was the second wife to one of the suspects – Casmire Mgbugba.

The suspected hoodlums further stated that they were the manufacturers of the locally made guns recovered from them, which they also sell to robbers and kidnappers.

“The command wishes to use this medium to appreciate the good people of Imo State for their undaunting support and assures them of the command’s commitments in sustaining the already improved security architecture in the State,” he said.

 

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Supreme Court Grants Rivers’ Request To Join Electoral Act Suit

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Supreme Court Grants Rivers' Request To Join Electoral Act Suit

The Supreme Court on Monday approved the request of Rivers State to join as an interested party a suit by President Muhammadu Buhari against the National Assembly on the Electoral Act 2022 .

The court has subsequently fixed Thursday, May 26, 2022 for the hearing of the suit.

Rivers State is to be represented in the suit by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of the state.

READ ALSO: Lawan Defies Court, Continues With Electoral Act Amendment

Justice Muhammad Musa Datijjo, who led a panel of seven justices of the court, adjourned the matter till Thursday following the concession by Buhari’s lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), that the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of the state be joined as parties in the suit.

Justice Dattijo then ordered the parties to file and exchange necessary processes latest next week Wednesday and return to the court on Thursday for hearing.

 

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Accountant General Ahmed Idris Suspended Over N80b Fraud

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Accountant General Ahmed Idris Suspended Over N80b Fraud

The accountant general of the federation Ahmed Idris has been suspended indefinitely by Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning.

This is coming two days after his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N80 billion fraud.

READ ALSO: EFCC Arrests Accountant-General Over Alleged N80bn Fraud

In a letter dated May 18, 2022, Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.
He is not expected to come to office or contact any official in his office except for any disciplinary hearing that may be advised.

 

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