Bill To Jail Protesters For Five Years Passes Second Reading In House House of Representatives


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Bill To Jail Protesters For Five Years Passes Second Reading In House of Representatives

The Bill, which was presented to the House on Thursday, was passed for a second reading by the House.

The second reading of a bill to imprison demonstrators for five years has been adopted by parliament.


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The House of Representatives passed a bill proposing a five-year prison sentence for illegal protestors in the country on first reading.

Rep. Emeka Chinedu Martins is sponsoring a bill called “An Act To Amend The Criminal Code Act, CAP 38, Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria, 2004 To Further Preserve The Sanctity Of Human Life And Property, And To Provide Specifically For Mob Action, Prescribe Punishment, And Other Matters” (PDP-Imo).

The Bill, which was presented to the House on Thursday, was passed for a second reading by the House.

The proposed Act’s provisions are as follows: (1) The Criminal Code Act (hereafter referred to as the “Principal Act”) is changed as set out in this Bill; (2) A new section 69 is substituted for section 69 of the Principal Act.

“Definition: Unlawful assembly, riot, mob action (a) When three or more persons, with the intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner or, while assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighborhood to fear, on reasonable grounds, that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any justification disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any justification It makes no difference whether the original assembly was legal if, once assembled, they behave themselves with a common aim in the manner described.”

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It further adds that “an unlawful assembly is not an assembly of three or more persons who convene for the purpose of protecting any house against persons threatening to break and enter the house in order to conduct a criminal or misdemeanor therein.”

“(c) A riot is called when an unlawful gathering begins to act in such a turbulent manner as to disturb the peace, and the persons assembled are said to be riotously assembled.

“(d) A mob is formed when an unlawful assembly turns violent and commits unlawful acts against any person or property.”

“(a) Anyone who participates in a riot is guilty of a felony and faces a three-year jail sentence,” it continues.

“(b) Anyone who participates in a mob action is guilty of a crime and faces a five-year jail sentence.

(4) Add a new section 76 to the Principal Act to replace Section 76:
Section 76 (a) Any person or property can be targeted by a mob.

“Any persons who gathered as a mob to perform a violent act against any person or property are guilty of a felony and are each liable to life imprisonment.”

“Seeks to modify the Criminal Code Act, Cap 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to further maintain the sanctity of human life and property, and to provide expressly for the crime of mob action, prescribe penalty, and other things associated therewith,” according to the bill.

“Mr Speaker, my highly valued colleagues, enable me to lead the debate on this very important Bill named the Criminal Code Act Amendment Bill, 2021,” the sponsor of the piece of legislation against unlawful protestors said in his lead debate.

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“For the first time in this Hallowed Chamber, this Bill was read. Mr. Speaker.

“Mr Speaker, we occasionally hear and read in the news about mobs attacking persons and property.

“A mob is a chaotic group of people who are out to cause trouble or bloodshed. It is frequently sparked spontaneously by a bystander’s allegations, which are then joined by another and another until it evolves into a mob of enraged people wreaking havoc and damage wherever it goes.

“The risk of mob action is that participants believe they are punishing an accused for breaking the law when, in reality, they are giving jungle justice to an accused who may be completely innocent and has not been given a fair hearing. They perform the functions of accusers, judges, and executors.

“Most people who take part in mob actions are usually unaware of the circumstances until joining the destructive swarm in a fit of wrath to carry out their orgy of violence.

“There have been reports of mobs inflicting fatal injuries on their targets and stealing and destroying property based on false allegations of theft, missing genitals, witchcraft, and blasphemy.

“As immediately as the crowd wreaks havoc, the participants scatter in all directions, making apprehending them impossible.

“In 2012, the Aluu Four, four male students from the University of Port Harcourt, travelled to Aluu, Rivers State, to reclaim a debt, but were set up and convicted of robbery, culminating to their horrible execution by a mob.

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“More recently, in 2016, in Ondo State, a man accused of homosexuality was beaten to death. In Ebonyi State, another guy was lynched on suspicion of stealing a motorcycle. Similar events have been reported this year as well.

“Our law enforcement agents’ failure to prevent mob justice or prosecute those who engage in it has given this heinous practice an appearance of legitimacy. People have lost faith in the criminal justice system, as seen by how frequently they resort to jungle justice as a form of retribution for suspected offenders. Too frequently, those who take part in mob acts go unpunished.

“Riot is defined in section 69 of the Criminal Code Act as when an unlawful assembly becomes turbulent to the point of disturbing the peace, but it does not include when the unlawful assembly becomes violent against persons or property.

“This amendment to the Bill aims to address this by making explicit changes to sections 69, 71, and 76 of the Criminal Code Act, which deal with mob action, as well as prescribing additional penalties for the offense.

“The Act’s change will encourage our law enforcement authorities to pursue anyone implicated in mob violence and give the criminal justice system a boost in prosecuting them.

“More people being captured and publicly prosecuted for mob activity will serve as a deterrent to others.

“I therefore humbly urge you to support the second reading of this Bill and its legislative proposal”.


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