It was gathered that the House of Representatives moved on Tuesday to prescribe tougher penalties for terrorism, including “a maximum of life imprisonment.”
A person, who facilitates the escape of a suspect held for an act of terrorism also faces a life prison sentence.
Sponsors of terrorism face the penalty of life imprisonment as those who commit the act itself.
Under the new law in view, planning a terror act is punishable even when the act is not committed eventually.
The provisions were contained in two consolidated bills, which passed second reading at the House in Abuja.
They bills were a “A Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for Offences Relating to Terrorism, Prohibit the Financing of Terrorism and Consolidate all Acts Relating to Terrorism and for Related Matters” and “A Bill for an Act to Amen the Terrorism Act 2011 for the Purpose of Applying Stringent Prison Terms for Offences of Terrorism, an Remove the Ambiguities in the Act and for Related Matters.”
The bills were sponsored by Mr. Mohammed Monguno and Mr. Ahmed Kaita.
While the first bill sought to repeal the existing terrorism (prohibition) law and make entirely new provisions for offences, the second bill sought to amend the extant law by strengthening it.
Section 19 of Monguno’s bill states, “A person who knowingly, directly or indirectly (a) aids and abets, (b) induces, instigates, instructs, (c) counsels or procures another person by means to commit an act of terrorism, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to life imprisonment. “
It adds, “Where the offence of terrorism is not committed, to an imprisonment for a term of 20 years.”
The bill defines terrorism broadly to mean any “deliberate” act of “malice”, which may cause harm/damage to a country, its government, economy, national assets, international organisations or result in loss of lives.
Kidnapping and the use of biological or chemical weapons, among others, are classified as terrorism under the bill.
It also includes “interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life.”