By Folasade Adeniran/Lydia Ngwakwe
Some Lagos residents on Thursday described the signing of the Lagos State Kidnapping Prohibition Bill, 2016 into law by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode as “a step in the right direction’’.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos that the state government should ensure strict enforcement of the law.
The governor had on Wednesday assented to the bill which provides life imprisonment for the act of kidnapping and death penalty for kidnappers whose victims die in their custody.
Mr Anthony Bassey, a civil servant, commended the state government for the law, saying that it would no doubt chase kidnappers away from the state.
“I want to commend Gov. Ambode for assenting to the law; truly it has to be death penalty, but the question is who signs the death warrant?’’ Bassey said.
Also, a nurse, Mrs Eniola Oloyede, urged the state government to ensure full enforcement of the law and not just pay lip service to it.
Oloyede said that effective enforcement of the law should be paramount.
Another resident, Mrs Adeola Akinfenwa, also a teacher, said that the move would help to prevent subsequent occurrence of such cases in the state.
A civil servant, Mr Femi Akindoyin, said that once there was enforcement and the culprits made to face the wrath of the law, it would stem the rising cases of kidnapping.
Mrs Oluwunmi Adetiba, a pharmacist, said that the state government’s action was necessary as kidnappers should not be encouraged and handled with kid’s gloves.
“There is hardly a week without this issue of kidnapping being reported. We really have a big problem in our hands.
“There should be severe punishment to serve as a deterrent; kidnappers kill as well,’’ Adetiba said.
Mr Gbenga Fagbade, a banker, said the governor’s action showed that the state government was proactive, adding that kidnapping was a heinous crime that should be discouraged.
In his remarks, the Deputy Commander, the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN), Lagos State Command, Mr Emmanuel Ayisie, said the law was good.
“I give kudos to the state government and the legislature for enacting a law that will discourage people from kidnapping and at the same time protect the lives of those who are being kidnapped.
“It is a law that is meant to send signals to those who are engaged in the act of kidnapping.
“I think the law is fair enough because it is going to make the kidnappers more careful and law abiding.
“It will minister to them that if you must kidnap, you must do it with some elements of care and if the intention is to get money from people, definitely the lives of the people should be spared,’’ Ayisie said.
Commenting, Mr Ehi Omokhuale, the Lagos State Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), supported the approval of the law on kidnapping by the state governor.
“The law should not exclude sacred cows. Lagos residents want to see scapegoats so as to deter others who now believe kidnapping has become a career,’’ Omokhuale said.