LAGOS ASSEMBLY: Anti – Terrorism Bill, Timely, Auspicious – Chief Whip
LEGISREPORTS NG – Chief Whip of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Hon. Abdulrazaq Balogun has described the pending bill on terrorism before the House as “very important, timely and auspicious” in the light of what is happening in the society.
Balogun stated this while contributing to debate at plenary yesterday during the second reading of the bill on the floor.
While supporting that the bill should proceed to the next stage, Balogun said the bill has taken care of all aspects of terrorism which according to him is an expanded scope on previous laws against terrorism.
“People and institutions that accommodate such tendencies like banks where funds for such activities are channelled are liable for prosecution”, Balogun said.
Also supporting the bill, Hon. Bisi Yusuf (Alimosho 1) said the bill is imperative because of the economic importance of Lagos “not only to the country but Africa and indeed the whole world and because of recent happenings in the state and country.
“Considering recent occurrences like the massacre of 185 people in Bornu state, discovery of terrorist hide out and weapons in the state, kidnap of council chairman in Lagos, the bill is imperative and important”, Yusuf said.
Deputy Leader, Hon. Lola Akande said the bill is overdue considering recent happenings in the society, while Hon. Gbolahan Yishau called for a critical look into some sections of the bill like protesting, kidnapping and murder that are categorised as terrorism.
However, Deputy Whip, Rotimi Abiru cautioned on the legality of such a bill as issues of terrorism and extradition as contained in the bill are in the exclusive list of the constitution.
He also does not see the need for a separate law on terrorism since there is already provision for that in the state criminal law “the criminal law has taken care of terrorism, but if it is not elaborate enough I think it can be amended to expand it instead of a new law”, Abiru said.
Supporting Abiru, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa (Agege 1) called for the expansion of the scope of the criminal law to capture areas not taken care of before. He also called on the government to advance economic development of the people and provide social security to assist the people as this will reduce the rate of crime drastically.
While not feeling too comfortable with the provision that offenders should be prosecuted by a Federal High Court instead of state High Court, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade requested that the bill be allotted a second day for hearing to enable members study the bill more and evaluate the impact of the bill. He also said terrorism and kidnapping are interwoven and is an issue that should be looked into critically.
The bill was consequently allotted a second day.
This report was prepared by our reporter in Lagos.