Rivers State anti-kidnapping, cultism bills crude – CSOs


Civil society organisations in Rivers state have called for a review of the proposed amendments of two laws before the Rivers state House of Assembly.

The CSOs at a joint media briefing in Port Harcourt said the proposed amendments of the Rivers State anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism laws are uncivilised.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, Senior Programmes Officer of Social Action, Prince Ekpere said the proposed amendments will infringe on the rights of people and also amounts to abuse of power.

Ekpere also said the Rivers State House of Assembly should allow unhindered public participation and consult widely before passing the laws.

According to him, “We have recently become aware that the Rivers State House of Assembly is considering two Executive Bills due for passage in a very short time.

“The key amendments to the bills is that it stipulates death penalty for persons found guilty of kidnapping. The previous Law had a penalty of 21 years imprisonment.

“Globally, there is an emerging consensus that the Death Penalty is barbaric and hardly achieves the intended result of discouraging or dis-incentizing criminality.

“To revoke any title document in respect of that property and transfer the owneriof the title document of the property to the State opens the option of abuse of power and could do more harm than good.”

Officials of other Civil society organizations who also spoke to newsmen said the amendments which proposes death sentence for indicted kidnappers or cultists amounts to extra judicial killing.

Others said a Law should also be proposed to pass death sentence on government officials found guilty of corruption.

The Civil Society Organizations however suggested that institutional reforms that will make security agencies, the judiciary and the Legislature perform more effectively.

It will interest you to know that the Rivers state House of Assembly is yet to take action on the Secret Cult and other Activities Prohibition Amendment Bill, Number one 2018, Rivers State Kidnap Prohibition Amendment Bill sent by the State Government.


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