…Queries alleged mismanaged N1bn for rehabilitating kidnapped survivors

By Henry Uche

Human Rights Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has advocated capital punishment for convicted looters, embezzlers and other politically exposed persons whose actions and inactions have led many Nigerians (especially the youths) into different crimes in the country.

In a monitored radio program yesterday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, made this call as the country marks the 10th anniversary of the kidnapped 276 teenage female Chibok girls of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, on April 15, 2014.

Just recently, Nigeria’s First Lady, OIuremi Tinubu, advocated death penalty for kidnappers due to the rampant nature of the crime in the country. Mrs Tinubu, a former senator, called on state governors and lawmakers to put in place laws to make kidnapping punishable by death.

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For Mr. Mr Falana, capital punishment is not the most potent solution to Nigeria’s insecurity challenge, but addressing the root causes of the problems like poor governance, maladministration and mismanagement of public resources by political leaders, would be better. “Why I do not subscribe to any form of capital punishment is because it has not addressed the root cause it was meant to address.

“We started in 1970, Nigeria began the execution of convicted armed robbers, since then, armed robbery, kidnapping and killing by gunmen has not minimized, so it’s not the capital punishment that would address these problems. For me, I think it’s a diversionary suggestions.

“Other Nigerians would prefer that we recommend capital punishment for the criminalities that lead to other problems, I’m talking of corruption. Those who suggested that kidnappers be shot at, would not want to extend such punishment to those who loot the treasuries (some time over a tune it N100 billion), some of the looters are currently undergoing trial”

The constitutional lawyer revealed that currently there are over 3000 people on death roll languishing in different prisons of Nigeria because elected governors are reluctant to sign their death warrant. He added that Nigeria need to have (maybe through the National Human Rights Commission) a register of those Kidnapped, register of released persons, and missing persons, as well as review the alleged mismanagement of N1 billion set aside by the government to alleviate the plight of parents of kidnapped children and rescued students, to ascertain if the fund has been mismanaged indeed.

“By the way, there is a law in Nigeria that prescribed life imprisonment for anybody who steals more than N1 million, I have tried in vain make the anti – graft agencies to apply this law, but the government is not interested, they won’t do it, but out of class solidarity, they prefer money laundering which has maximum of five years” he bemoaned.