Navy, EFCC fault criminalisation of ransom to terrorists

Our Correspondent


Daily Courier – The Navy and Economic and the Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have rejected the proposed criminalisation of ransom payment to abductors, terrorists and kidnappers.


A representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Egbuchulam, spoke at the National Assembly, Abuja during a public hearing on the Terrorism Prevention Act (Amendment) Bill 2021, which seeks to outlaw payment of ransom to secure the release of captives.


The hearing was organised by the Senate joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.


Section 14 of the bill provides: “Anyone who transfers funds, makes payment or colludes with an abductor, kidnapper or terrorist to receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped is guilty of a felony and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years.”


Egbuchulam, however, said instead of outright criminalisation, negotiation or payment of ransom should be subjected to security vetting.


He said: “It is suggested that the Bill could make the negotiation/proposed payment of ransom to kidnappers or terrorists to secure release of hostages subject to the prior knowledge of ONSA/Armed Forces of Nigeria/Police for coordination.


“It is opined that subjecting such payment of ransom to security vetting and tracking is preferable to outright criminalisation.”