The Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Public Account, Hon Moshood Oshun, says the inclusion of a death penalty in the recently passed bill against kidnapping by the Assembly was to deter people of the state from taking up such vices.
In a statement signed by his media office and sent to us, Oshun explained that the Assembly decided to include death penalty in the bill because lawmakers became concerned about cases of kidnapping in some parts of the state like Ikorodu and Epe.
Oshun said if left unchecked, it would encourage those who are into the “criminal act, cause fear among the citizens and ultimately affect the security and economic situations of the state,” which he described as a mini-Nigeria.
The statement reads, “We need to understand the physical and psychological torture faced by a person who is abducted. In fact, it would take a special grace for a victim to ever recover from the incident.
“Compared to the same law in some other states, it is outright death for a kidnapper found guilty irrespective of whether the victim died in his custody or not.
“But here in Lagos, we respect the sanctity of the human person and this is why we did not follow the general pattern of death penalty. In our case, the kidnapper will only be sentenced to death if the victim died in his or her custody. This is just a simple tit-for-tat.”
“Again, most laws are not just about punishment, but deterrent. A Nigerian resident in Lagos and thinking of engaging in this kind of crime would definitely withdraw upon knowing that he has no escape route with this kind of law.
“When the security system is seen to have failed and kidnapping becomes a trending thing, how many people would be free to go about their businesses? “In this case, who suffers? There are a lot of things we must consider in looking at the law.”
The bill which was passed into law by the House after it scaled through the third reading, is currently awaiting the assent of the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
According to the bill, kidnappers would face death penalty if it is discovered that a victim died in their custody and it also stipulates life imprisonment for those found guilty of kidnapping.
Ordinarily, death penalty is being frowned against in some quarters, but Oshun said the punishment was justified according to its placement in the law.