The Rivers State House of Assembly may relax death penalty in the anti-cultism and anti-kidnapping bills.This is sequel to the outcome of reports of the ad-hoc committee on three different bills currently being considered by the House.The plan came after a public hearing was held last weekend with recommendations to relax some of the penalties.
The bills: the Rivers State Secret Cult and Similar Activities (Prohibition) Amendment No. 1 Bill, 2018; Rivers State Kidnap (Prohibition) Amendment No. 2 Bill, 2018 and the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Bill, 2018, are all executive bills.
Chairman of the ad-hoc committee and Majority Leader, Martin Amaewhule, while presenting report on the outcome of the public hearing for the three bills during plenary yesterday, said that there were divergent views on the proposed penalties both for the anti-cultism and anti-kinapping bills.
He said after due consideration, the committee recommends that the death penalty should be relaxed in the anti-cultism and anti-kidnapping bills.On the Neighbourhood Safety Corps Bill, Amaewhule stated that there was no provision for secretary to the board in the bill, adding that the committee recommended a secretary with three-year tenure.
Also, on corporate bodies found to be sponsoring cult activities, he said the proposed N50 million penalty remains, adding that the committee also recommends that state government will confiscate any property where cult activities are being carried out with the knowledge of the owner instead of demolishing.
Amaewhule, who stated that the committee adopted the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps Law on the issue of pre-action notice, disclosed that the stakeholders hailed the state government for coming up with such amendments and a bill that will help improve security of lives and property in the state.The House later deferred debate on the three bills and adjourned to Monday, February 19, 2018. The Speaker, Ikunyi Owaji-Ibani, said the deferment is to allow members study the reports and debate adequately.