Vanguard (Lagos)

12 November 2012

Nigeria: Ex-Militants Urge Uduaghan to Sign Anti-Terrorism Bill

A group of Niger Delta militants

Warri — Ex-militants, under the aegis of Niger Delta Liberation Force, NDLF, have asked Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to sign into law, the Anti-Terrorism/Kidnapping Bill, stipulating death sentence for kidnappers and terrorists passed last Wednesday by the state House of Assembly.

The group, in a response by its spokesperson, Mark Anthony, to an electronic mail enquiry by Vanguard, urged Uduaghan to jettison his opposition to death penalty for capital offences in order to purge the state of evil persons.

However, Warri-based civil rights group, Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence, FJHD, disagreed with NDLF, saying it stood for total eradication of death penalty from the statute books nationwide.

FJHD said: "We call on the National Assembly and our State Houses of Assembly to immediately abolish the death penalty from our statute books nationwide to allay its boomeranging effects on our larger society."

NDLF, however, said those opposed to death penalty were talking out of ignorance, as they did not know the battle in the mind of terrorists, kidnappers and criminals, who knew before committing the crime that it was punishable by death.

His words: "The bill has to be speedily signed into law to curb the menace of terrorism/kidnapping in the nation, particularly kidnapping in the Delta State."

The spokesperson said the ex-militant group offered, some months ago, when the situation practically got out of control, to assist the state government to fight kidnappers and terrorists because it had experienced sharp shooters in its fold, but it got no response from government.

He said since the House of Assembly has provided a leeway for the governor by passing a bill on the subject matter, "Uduaghan must immediately sign the anti-terrorism/kidnapping bill into law in the interest of the society."

According to him, "NDLF, as an organization is not a terrorist organization and had not engaged in kidnapping since its 18 months of armed confrontation with federal military might before our surrendering and subsequent state pardon by Federal Government."

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