The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has called for stiffer penalty for those found guilty of banditry, kidnapping and their informants.
Speaking during the swearing-in of the third female Chief Judge of the state, Aisha Bwari, at the Government House, Minna weekend, Governor Bello said if stiffer penalties are introduced for those found guilty of banditry and kidnapping and their informants, the incidences will be greatly reduced.
He also said that informants of bandits and kidnappers should be treated in the same way as those actually committing the act.
“This state and indeed the country in general have lost both lives and property to banditry in recent times. It is now time to come up with stiffer penalty to stop this crime against humanity” the governor said.
According to him, “Stiffer penalty for these criminals has become necessary if the war against those involved in these heinous crimes must be won
“We lose people on daily basis due to bandits’ activities in the state and all over the country. My prayer is that the judiciary and the legislature will come up with a stiffer penalty for bandits and kidnappers, especially their informants.
“It has come to our notice that most of these heinous crimes are being committed in conjunction with members of the communities who act as their informants.
“So we are seriously and strongly suggesting that both the kidnappers, the bandits and their informants should have the same punishment. Without the informants, banditry will not thrive. In my own opinion, the informants are more dangerous.
“These people (bandits) have not only deprived the people of their livelihood, they have equally deprived the people of their lives. The time has come for us to have a stiffer measure against these people.”
He promised to send the amendments of the relevant laws to the state House of Assembly, hoping that when the law is finally passed, the judiciary will key into it.
“Kidnapping and banditry must stop in the overall interest of the society,” Bello stated.
In her remarks, the new Chief Judge, Justice Bwari, promised to carry out a total reform of the judicial system in the state, especially the criminal justice system admitting that “most of our laws are obsolete”.