Criminality, Attributed To Political Corruption, As Majority Leader Says Anti-Cult, Anti-Kidnap Bills Are In Response To Yearnings Of Rivers People
(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – As reactions trail the proposed Rivers State Cult and Similar Activities (Prohibition Amendment No.1) Bill 2018, Rivers State Kidnap (Amendment No.2 Bill of 2018) and the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Bill 2018, some stakeholders have observed that criminality in the society is the social cost of political corruption.
Stakeholders who were speaking at the public hearing organised by the Rivers State House of Assembly on Friday at he Assembly complex in Port Harcourt, demanded death penalty for politicians who impoverish the people and create unfavourable environment that push the youth into crimes.
Meanwhile, the Majority leader of Rivers State House of Assembly, who was chairman of the public hearing committee, Hon, Martins Amaewhule had said that there was nothing political about the bills but that they were proposed by the executive in response to the yearnings and aspirations of Rivers people.
He said the amendment is to add death penalty to offences bordering on kidnapping and cultism, which the executive strongly feels should be checked with stiff penalties, even as he added that other states in Nigeria, and even Western countries still have death penalty in their laws for certain offences.
Hon. Amaewhule further explained that the bills do not support extra-judicial killings but that maximum punishment will only be applied after due processes of investigation and prosecution in the court of law have been followed, stressing that the public hearing was an opportunity for stakeholders to make their own inputs to the proposed law.
Responding to concerns over the provision which empowers the Neighbourhood Safety Corps to carrying arms, the lawmaker explained that there are existing laws stipulating the kind of arms that they can possibly carry, stressing that the officials will assist the police and other security agencies with useful information, and in the maintenance of law and order in the state.
One of the participants at the Public Hearing was a representative of Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Barr. (Mrs.) Mercy Nweke, who hinted that the proposals bordering on the maintenance of law and order in the state were of interest to the Commissioner of Police as it will compliment the work of the Police Force in the state.
She however regretted that invitation to the public hearing got to them very late, while assuring that the Police will send its memo on the bills as soon as the Commissioner, who was said to be out of the state, returns.

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