By Olabisi Ololade
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday signed into law the anti-kidnapping bill recently passed by the State House of Assembly, with a pledge to ensure its full implementation to eradicate kidnapping once and for all in the State.
The Prohibition of the Act of Kidnapping Law imposes a penalty of life imprisonment on kidnapping for ransom. The law also stipulates that where a victim dies in the course of kidnap, the suspect is liable on conviction to death.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held at Lagos House in Ikeja, Governor Ambode said the spate of kidnapping in the State had gotten to a level that required decisive action from government, hence the need for the enactment of the law to send serious message to perpetrators of such heinous crime.
He said aside the enactment of the law, the State Government was also putting in place appropriate measures particularly in the schools and other vulnerable targets to prevent kidnapping and other security breaches.
The Governor said: “Security is of utmost importance to our administration and we are confident that this law will serve as a deterrent to anybody who may desire to engage in this wicked act within the boundaries of Lagos.
“Why we use this law to address the challenge and punish the criminals, we are also putting in place appropriate measures particularly in our schools and other vulnerable targets to prevent security breaches and it is important that we ensure that everything we do in respect of this anti-kidnapping law is in good faith and good spirit to eradicate the issue of kidnapping once and for all in the State.”
Governor Ambode assured that the justice system would be activated to execute the anti-kidnapping law to the letter to ensure that any criminal caught is subjected to the full wrath of the law.
The Governor, at the ceremony, also signed the Sports Trust Fund Bill and the Sports Commission bill into law, explaining that the laws were enacted to address key issues bordering on security and effectively harnessing the potentials in the sports sector.
Giving insight on the laws, Governor Ambode said: “The Sport Commission Law will give legal backing to the formulation and implementation of sport policies in the State while the Sport Trust Fund will enable government to raise money for the development of sporting facilities and activities.
“This fund will provide a platform where the State Government can enter into partnership with the private sector to finance sports infrastructure, tournaments and programmes which will in turn create employment and generate revenue for the State.”
He added that as provided for in the law, a Board of Trustees comprising all stakeholders in the sports community would soon be inaugurated for the Trust Fund, saying that with the law, government was restating its commitment to scale up sports development and make the State the hub of sports in Nigeria.
He also appreciated members of the Lagos State House of Assembly for their efforts in the enactment of the laws.
In his remarks, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, said the signing of the bills into law by the Governor was a clear testimony of the commitment of the State Government to the security of citizens and sports development.
Obasa, who was represented by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Sanai Agunbiade, said it was particularly gratifying to note that the anti-kidnapping law was an all-encompassing one which prescribes punishment for the actual actors, those that collaborate, aid and abet and those who see the act of kidnapping being perpetrated and do nothing about it, as well as confiscation of properties attached to the heinous crime of kidnapping.
He said the passage and signing of the law was a direct response and responsiveness of the government to the spate of kidnapping in the State, adding that the expansive provisions in the law would, in no long distant future, ensure the eradication of the menace in the State.
On the bills on sports, the Speaker said: “We are happy that Lagos State is taking a very bold step at ensuring that sporting activities get a boost from the government and this is a clear demonstration to the people of Lagos State and Nigeria that the State Government is paying adequate attention to sporting activities.”