Senate, on Wednesday, passed a bill seeking to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013, and to prohibit the payment of ransom to kidnappers.
The bill was passed following the consideration of a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, under the chairmanship of Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti).
Making his presentation, Bamidele said the bill would outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorist for release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.
The lawmaker said, “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.”
Bamidele also said that the amendment to the Terrorism Act would set standards and regulatory system aimed at preventing terrorist groups from laundering money through the banking system and other financial networks.
“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,” he added.
He said a comprehensive review of the Terrorism Prevention Act became imperative due to 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.
Bamidele stressed the proposed repeal and enactment Bill was geared towards improving the effectiveness of countermeasures against terrorism, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.
He noted that the repeal is aimed at providing adequate framework for improved international collaboration, inter-agency cooperation and freezing of terrorist funds/assets.
The lawmaker said the passage of this Bill will save Nigeria from being included among countries in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List with its attendant negative consequences, which might ultimately result to international sanctions that would affect the image of the country in the comity of nations.