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Military, EFCC Reject clause to Criminalize payment to Terrorists in the Senate Bill

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The Military and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  have rejected a clause that proposed criminalization of ransom payment to abductors, terrorists and kidnappers in an attempt to secure release of hostages in the Terrorism Prevention Act (Amendment) Bill 2021

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

The hearing was organized by Senate committees Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

Section 14 of the bill provides that, “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 criminalization.”

Also , the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), represented by the Director, Legal and Prosecution Department, Chile Okoroma  applauded most of the provision of the bill, but kicked against prosecution of somebody that paid ransome saying it should be narrow down to those who received ransome not those that paid the ransome.

According to him, the bill on Terrorism is well intended , but the issue of prosecuting those that paid ransome should be looked at , it should be narrow it to those who received payment for ransome.

But, Nigerian Correctional Service in its presentation agreed with all provision of the bill including the Prosecution of anyone that paid ransome.

According to Correctional Service, we agree with the proposed amendment to this bill.

In his opening remarks, Senator Bamidele said sought to outlaw payment of ransom to abductors , Kidnappers and Terrorists for release of someone who have been wrongly confined or imprisoned.

He said, ” The Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 202 The Bill was sponsored by Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi. (Imo East Senatorial District).

” The Bill, among other things, seeks to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 in order to outlaw the payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for the release of any person who has been wronfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped.”

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Terrorists Release Four More Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack Victims 

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Terrorists who attacked  an AK9 Train in Kaduna state on March 28 have released four more hostages in their custody.

Among the released hostages include an  90-year-old woman, Hajiya Halimatu Atta and and her 53-year-old daughter, Adama Aliyu.

A member of the negotiating team,  Tukur Mamu told Channels Television that the victims were released on Friday after spending over four months in captivity.

Meanwhile, Mamu  has drawn the attention of the federal government and the Christian Association of Nigeria about  plan by the terrorists to marry off the  youngest victim, 21-year-old Azurfa Lois John any moment from now, just as they did in the case of Leah Sharibu in Yobe state some years ago.

According to Mamu, one of the top commanders of the terrorists is said to be in love with Ms John.

He however pled with the Federal Government and other stakeholders  to intensify efforts towards the release of the 23 victims still with the terrorists whose health  conditions, he said, is pathetic and require urgent medical attention.

Mamu also called on CAN not to politicize the issue or reduce it to mere press releases, but to work closely with relevant authorities to engage the abductors on the case of Ms John before it is late.

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NBC Revokes Silverbird, AIT, Raypower, Rhythm FM, Others’ Licences

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has revoked the broadcast licences of Silverbird TV, AIT, Raypower FM, and Rhythm FM amongst others over failure to renew their broadcast licences amounting to N2.66 billion.

A statement by NBC on Friday noted that the move followed the publication of a list of stations yet to renew their licences.

According to the Commission, a two-week waiver was given to them in May to do so after which they risked the revocation of their broadcast licences.

But three months after the publication, NBC said, “some licensees are yet to pay their outstanding debts, in contravention of the National Broadcasting Commission Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly section 10(a) of the third schedule of the Act.

“Therefore, after due consideration, NBC hereby announces the revocation of the licenses of the…stations and gives them 24 hours to shut down their operations.

Our offices nationwide are hereby directed to collaborate with security agencies to ensure immediate compliance.”

The broadcast regulator said the continued operation of the “debtor stations is illegal and constitutes a threat to national security”.

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OKADA: LAGOS GOVT EXTENDS BAN TO 4 MORE LGAS, 5 LCDAS FROM SEPT 1

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…7,500 Commercial Motorcycles Impounded, Crushed Since June 1

…‘Enforcement’ll Be Total, Livelihood Support For Willing Riders’ – Govt

Lagos State Government, on Thursday, extended a ban on the activities of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, to four more Local Government Areas (LGAs) and six Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

Effective from September 1, 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu directed enforcement teams to fully implement the proscription order and bust erring riders across the councils listed in the Okada ban.

The additional places are Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu and Mushin Local Government Areas. The Development Area Councils are Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Isolo LCDA, Bariga LCDA, and Odi-Olowo LCDA.

The latest pronouncement came about three months after Sanwo-Olu ordered a total restriction on Okada in six LGAs, comprising Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa, as well as LCDAs under them.

This brings it to 25 councils of the 57 councils in which Okada activities have been proscribed.

Announcing the ban at a press conference held at the Government secretariat in Alausa, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, said the extension of the proscription order was a move by the State Government to sustain the gains recorded in the ongoing action against Okada operations in the State.

The commissioner said Okada accidents and fatalities had reduced by 63.7 per cent across the 15 local councils where the first phase of ban had been enforced, stressing that the development also significantly brought down the rate of crimes associated with motorcycles.

This, Oladehinde said, led to resolutions reached at a Stakeholders Forum, last Tuesday, with interest groups in which the participants unanimously urged the Government to make the Okada ban State-wide.

He said: “The Ministry in conjunction with the inter-ministerial committee on Okada, having critically accessed these resolutions and the challenges of Okada operations on the security architecture of the State, recommended to Mr. Governor not to go back on the already laid down phase ban in a bid to sustain the gains.

“Based on the apparent positive impact of the ban and the resolution of the Stakeholders’
Forum, Mr. Governor has approved the ban of Okada in another four LGAs and their respective five LCDAs for the second phase of the total ban, in addition to the on-going ban in the six LGAs and their respective LCDAs.”

The State Government advised residents to embrace alternative means of transportation for their journey, noting that the State had provided safe and sustainable First- and Last-Mile Transport Scheme, BRT Scheme, e-hailing taxi Scheme and other acceptable means for the safety of commuters.

Oladehinde disclosed that 7,500 motorcycles had been impounded and crushed in the ongoing enforcement, while resistance had dropped sharply. He issued a stern warning to riders who may want to flout the proscription order, stressing that the enforcement would not be sparing.

The Commissioner said the State Government had interventions in place to empower the affected Okada riders as an alternative means of livelihood. He urged them to embrace the intervention programmes which are being coordinated by six Government ministries and also Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

He said: “It is important to reiterate the State Government’s commitment to the safety, security of lives and properties in the State. In exercising this, any motorcycle impounded will be crushed and the process will be made public.

“Both riders and passengers arrested on proscribed routes will be made to face the full wrath of the law in line with the provision of Section 46, sub-section 1, 2 & 3 of the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL), 2018.”
Commissioner for

Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, observed that the last Tuesday meeting with stakeholders reviewed the enforcement action taken since the total ban, pointing out that the feedback from the public informed further measures to curtail the activities of the commercial motorcycles.

He said Okada riding remained alien to the State’s integrated transportation master plan.
The ban enforcement will be supervised by the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation.

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