Bill Proposing 5-Year Jail Term for Unlawful Protesters Pass First Reading

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday, presented a bill seeking a five-year-jail term for ‘unlawful protesters’ in the country for consideration.

The bill entitled: ‘An act to amend the criminal code act CAP 38, laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004, to further preserve the sanctity of human lives and property, and to provide specifically for mob action, prescribe punishment and other matters’, was sponsored by Emeka Chinedu Martins, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Imo State.

The provisions of the proposed act, which passed its second reading during plenary, include:

“The provisions of the Criminal Code Act, as amended, to substitute section 69 of the Principal Act, a new section 69.”

Going by the definition of the provision, unlawful assembly, riot, mob action will carry a five-year prison sentence.

The bill goes on to define unlawful protest to mean ‘when three or more persons, with intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner or, being assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace, they are an unlawful assembly.’

“When an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot, and the persons assembled are said to be riotously assembled.

“When an unlawful assembly becomes violent as to commit unlawful acts against any person or property, the assembly is called a mob and their violent act is referred to as mob action.”

The bill also stipulated that ‘Any person who takes part in a riot is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

“Any person who takes part in a mob action is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for five years.”

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