The Kaduna State Government has enacted a law to deal with the menace of street gangs terrorising some parts of Kaduna city.
At a news conference on Tuesday at the Government House, Kaduna, the state solicitor general, Chris Umar, announced the promulgation of the law banning unlawful societies.
He said the government took the decision to promote public safety and uphold law and order.
Umar said the law, which is tagged: “Council to approve the Unlawful Societies (Declaration) Order, 2018”, prescribes a seven-year jail term for anyone convicted under the law.
“This order, which has been gazetted, became effective on 27th June 2018. It declares as unlawful societies urban gangs that have been unleashing mayhem on innocent persons.
“The violent, criminal actions of these gangs pose serious threats to peaceful and harmonious coexistence in our communities, and threaten the tranquillity, security and development of the state,” he said.
The solicitor general noted that street gangs known variously as “Sara-suka”, “Yanshara” and other names “have acquired notoriety for involvement in criminal activities, including petty theft, armed robbery, rape and murder”.
He said: “Based on the powers granted to the governor by sections 45(1) and 5(2) of the Constitution, and other extant laws, the Unlawful Societies (Declaration) Order, 2018 declares all groups under whatever name, appellation or mutation with the propensity of causing a breakdown of law and order or operates in a manner dangerous to the security and good governance of the state as unlawful societies.”
Umar said further that: “Upon commencement of the Order, any person who manages, or is a member of the said societies or groups commits an offence and shall be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of Kaduna State.”
According to him, the State Executive Council took the decisive step to secure the lives and property of the residents of the state as enshrined in the constitution.
“It is a follow-up to the conventional law enforcement actions that have been taken to address the matter.
“There have been several and repeated arrests of gangsters, who are then quickly bailed pending prosecution, allowing them to continue their illegal activities and even menace those they suspect might have reported them, sometimes creating a spiral of reprisals and needless violence in our communities. The new order closes a lacuna in extant laws,” he said.
He said the law enables law enforcement agencies to be more proactive and empowers them to arrest and prosecute gangsters even before they perpetrate violent acts.
He added that membership of a gang is sufficient ground for arrest and conviction under the new order.
He called on parents to explain to their wards the consequences of partaking in or associating with gangs.
The deadly activities of street gangs in parts of Kaduna metropolis has become a serious security threats to residents.