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Senate passes bill banning ransom payments to kidnappers

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THE Nigerian Senate has passed a bill that bans ransom payments to kidnappers in the country.

The bill, which seeks an amendment into the 2013 Terrorism Prevention Act was passed during Wednesday’ plenary.

The proposed legislation makes it illegal to pay money for the “release of any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped”.

According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters Micheal Bamidele, the bill would prevent 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 said.

This is coming amid frequent kidnapping for ransom in various parts of the country by terrorists groups.

Bandits in the North-West have continued to carry out mass kidnappings that have forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

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Security agencies in the country are struggling to stop the trend of kidnappings that has forced many families to pay ransoms to free kidnapped relatives in different parts of the country.

Several passengers who were abducted during an attack on a Kaduna-bound train are still being held, about a month after the incident.

The ICIR had reported that kidnapping has grown into a multi-million naira industry in Nigeria. The report noted the criminal enterprise is gaining more prominence due to the millions of naira paid as ransom to kidnappers.

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