The President, Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Okey Wali, has said kidnappers should be treated as criminals and do not deserve amnesty. He said kidnapping is a crime carried out by unknown persons for ransom and not for a reasonable cause.
Wali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in an interview with our correspondent, was reacting to the call by Mr. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, for the Federal Government to grant amnesty to kidnappers in the country after his release from abduction on Thursday.
The NBA president said, “Kidnapping is a criminal offence and we don’t know if they are fighting for any known cause. Therefore, they can’t be granted amnesty. Kidnapping is one of the emerging crimes and those who kidnap people for ransom are not known for fighting for any cause.
“They are not people you can call for talks. What are you going to discuss? Who are you going to discuss with? Who are the kidnappers; who knows them?”
Also, the Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Lagos branch, Mr. Taiwo Taiwo, and constitutional law expert, Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN, have also faulted the amnesty call.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria, the lawyers said the call would encourage young Nigerians to take to crime.
Taiwo said, “I am totally against it. This will only take criminality to a higher level and make people believe that crime pays. You cannot place kidnappers on the same scale with Niger Delta militants, who were clamouring for judicious use of their resources.”
Sagay noted that kidnappers had no moral justification for terrorising and inflicting pains on innocent Nigerians.
“They are modern day robbers and lazy people, who are looking for any excuse to inflict pains and sufferings on innocent people so that they can get money cheaply. These people are criminals and don’t deserve amnesty,” Sagay stated.
The Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria, Mr. Mussodiq Sanni, also said amnesty was not ideal for kidnappers.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to provide employment opportunities for positive engagement of the citizens, especially the youth.
“The major problem in Nigeria is unemployment, and Federal Government should tackle it,” he noted.
Ozekhome, who was kidnapped between Ehor and Ekpoma Road in Edo State and was in captivity for two weeks, was released on Wednesday after an undisclosed ransom was paid.