By Olugbenga Salami
Senate has passed a bill seeking to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, and to prohibit the payment of ransom to kidnappers in Nigeria.
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 terrorist for release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.
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, plethora of issues relating to the subject matter of terrorism and terrorism financing in line with global best practices were raised.
Bamidele assured 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.
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.”
The chairman 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 towards improving the effectiveness of countermeasures against terrorism, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.