The Senate, last week, passed a bill which outlawed the payment of ransom to kidnappers.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly (NASS), for your reading pleasure.
1. Making ransom payment illegal
As a way of tackling the spate of kidnapping for ransom, the Senate on April 27, during plenary, passed a bill seeking to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, to prohibit the payment of ransom to kidnappers in the country.
This was sequel to the bill’s adoption by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, led by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.
Senate’s decision might not be unconnected with plans to dismantle what is considered to be a booming business in Nigeria. This is as bandits, who are mostly on top of this criminal act, get paid in millions of Naira in order to release their victims.
Critics, just like the first time the bill graced the Senate, have again kicked against it, questioning why lawmakers would channel their legislative energy in fighting the aftermath of a problem than solving the problem itself.
The principal argument against the line towed by the lawmakers is that the Nigerian state has failed woefully to protect its citizens, leaving them with no choice but to surrender to the biddings of criminals.
Yes, paying ransom is, unfortunately, an indirect way of motivating kidnappers to go on with their criminal acts, but a sad reality is that kidnapped victims stand a higher risk of being killed, if the monetary demand of their abductors is not met.
There is, perhaps, a need to review what has now been regarded as a knee-jerk reaction to seeking more enduring solutions to the nagging issue of kidnapping.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“I disagree with the position of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar confusingly stating that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (Southerners) were Presidents for 8 years and 6 years respectively, whilst he deliberately skipped the name of the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua for selfish political interest. What makes it more disappointing for me is the fact that the former Vice President is a Muslim and Islam teaches us to be truthful and fair in our dealings and not misguide people with our utterances.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Zoning presidential tickets to South-East
The former Abia State Governor, and Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, On April 26, disclosed that he could drop his 2023 presidential ambition, if his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), fails to zone its presidential ticket to the South-East region.
He bared his mind via a statement on his Facebook page titled: ‘The Fairness I Know’.
Among others, he had said, “In the absence of this zoning, I shall return to the Senate and stay away from the presidential contest.”
An easterner, Kalu’s submission comes from the place of pain, and disappointment over the perceived political marginalisation of the South-East region. He is not alone in this regard. Many others have also canvassed for the two major political parties – APC and PDP – to zone their presidential tickets to the region.
All told, Kalu’s disposition creates a feeling of entitlement which runs contrary to popular belief that power is taken, not given.
Kalu and his ilk must, therefore, come to terms with the fact that power will not drop on the laps of the region based on the sentiments that the South-West and South-South have had a taste of presidential power.
3. Lawan’s appeal to FG, ASUU
On April 30, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, appealed to the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to sheathe their swords and reach an agreement in order to end the strike which has crippled learning in public universities across the country.
“In the spirit of the May Day, 1 appeal for a speedy and amicable resolution of the ongoing negotiations between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to ensure that our universities re-open for learning and research,” Lawan said in an address to mark this year’s International Workers’ Day.
Needless to say that the Senate President should make use of his office as the number three man in Nigeria to persuade the Federal Government to honour the agreement it had with ASUU, and hence, ensure that the root of the strike is finally cut off. Is Lawan capable of doing this? Only time will tell.
Answer: Hon. Shina Peller
Peller made the statement, in March 2022, to discredit Atiku’s claim that the South had ruled Nigeria for 14 years. Hence, the PDP should not allow itself to be pushed into zoning its presidential position to the South in the forthcoming 2023 election. He represents Iseyin, Itsesiwaju, Kajola, Iwajowa Federal Constituency, Oyo State.