Following the proposal of a bill seeking to criminalise ransom payment to kidnappers, the Eselu of Iselu in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi has described the bill as misplaced priority.
The first class monarch who condemned the bill in totality, lamented that the government has failed in its duty of protecting lives and properties.
Eselu in an Open letter written to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, insisted that the bill is needless and unpopular at this time that the country is being faced with serious security issues.
Oba Akinyemi however noted that the Federal Government should first rescue Leah Sharibu and other innocent Nigerians in kidnappers’ dens if they want the bill to be popular.
The monarch in the letter said, “I want to inform Your Excellency that I am averse/opposed to the Bill on Criminalization of Ransom Payment that is now being debated upon in the Hallowed Chamber of the Senate.
“With all sense of honesty, I totally condemn the menace of kidnapping that has now ravaged our dear country, Nigeria.
“As a patrotic citizen, I will always support any steps that governments at all levels take with the view to ridding our country off all manners of criminalities, including the crime of kidnapping that is sadly gaining more currency/popularity in our country these days.
“However, I feel the Bill that is proposing a 15-year jail term for payers of ransom to kidnappers is a misplaced priority, unpopular and needless at this precious time because governments at all levels have failed in their responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerian citizens due mainly to the poor security architecture in the entire country.”
Oba Akinyemi further said,” if families of kidnapped persons cannot pay ransom due to the proposed Bill and government too does not have an effective security architecture to rescue the victims, it then means that the victims of kidnapping will be in the kidnappers’ dens till eternity.
“Lives of some of them may even be in danger in the hands of their abductors. Will that not amount to a double jeopardy for the victims’ families? I am sure the children of the proponents of the Bill are not in this unsecure country.”
The monarch however suggested that there is need for the government to develop a security strategy that will make security agencies possess the competence and capacity to aggressively confront kidnapping in the country.
He further advised, “in my opinion, the Federal Government should put in place an effective Nigeria Police Rescue Team.
“FG should boost the morale of the men of the Nigeria Police Force and other Security agencies in the country to enable them put in all their best.
“They should also insure the lives of the men of the Nigeria Police Force so as to give confidence to them and their families.
“Government should provide all the necessary facilities/amenities to make all the security personnel in Nigeria function well.
“Senate President Sir, I believe in this Bill, but let the Federal Government put in place a formidable and effective Police Rescue Team solely for tackling kidnapping activities and give them a marching order to first rescue all innocent Nigerians in kidnappers’ dens before implementing the Bill that cannot guarantee the safety of kidnapped persons and their families.”