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By Beatrice Akpala


The law prohibiting all forms of kidnappings and its ancillary crimes has become fully operational in Cross River State. The State Governor, His Excellency, Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu, on the 16th of August, 2023 made the formal declaration of the commencement of the official implementation of the kidnap law while reading the riot act on the unscrupulous elements in the State. The bill has since 31st August, 2015 been assented to and signed into law by the immediate passed Governor Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade.

The Honorable Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, who recently threw more insights on the very philosophy and workability of the law, noted that its draconian nature makes it not only fearful but demonstrates how determined the present administration is, in enforcing it.


The Number 1 legislative officer maintained that no administration worth its name would sit back and watch its citizenry being kidnapped and the entire society made socially unstable by criminals and their cohorts.

He expressed high commendations to His Excellency, Governor Otu for being proactive and for swiftly domesticating the law soon after the amnesty period, during which such evil-minded people were expected to desist from all sort of criminal tendencies, by surrendering or laying down their arms and be fully integrated into the free society.


The Speaker explained further that by its very nature, the new law on kidnapping is very stifling, quite drastic and uncompromising in its totality, even as he firmly warned that no kidnapper will be spared in the State.


He allayed fears that the new law should not be allowed to be watered down by judicial interpretations as the penalties enshrined in the law are not negotiable nor bailable.


Rt. Hon. Ayambem disclosed that the legislative arm of government led by him, will work closely with the police, the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) and other relevant and critical stakeholders in crime prevention to ensure that nobody who engages in the act is spared.


He said that the law was enacted in simple terms and can be easily understood by all and sundry and admonished every Cross Riverian and those living within her shores to desist from kidnappings and other crimes.


The Speaker, who decried the present prevalent atmosphere of kidnappings and other crimes, noted that the amnesty period is over and therefore, it will not be business as usual, particularly as all hands are on deck to fish out anybody fomenting trouble in any part of the State.


According to him, the law stipulates a death penalty by hanging for offenders and their accomplices while anyone whose property is used to hold onto the victims will not only be jailed for 20 years but will also have his or her property demolished and the land converted to state government’s property to serve as a deterrent to others. He disclosed further that anyone who is privy to the crime of kidnapping but fails to disclose the identities of the criminals will have the same death sentence metted out to him or her should the kidnapped victim dies as a result of the incident.


He expressed worries that recent reports of the perpetration of heinous crimes such as robbery, cultism, and kidnappings have unbearably become so disturbing that if such drastic steps are not quickly taken, the Cross River society may be overwhelmed. He expressed confidence in the new law which he said, would lead to a more socially stable society, adding that as an individual and law maker, he has no permanent friends as he believes in the virtues of honesty and being truthful always even to the closest people to him. Noting that even his closest allies if found wanting will face the music squarely.


He stated vehemently that Cross River State remains a shining example of a socially stable society and the present administration is poised to take it back to the glorious era of its prosperity against all odds. He called on all political appointees and critical stakeholders in the state to hands off any form of involvement in shady dealings because the repercussions will be detrimental to all concerned without any interference or considerations whatsoever. He thanked His Excellency Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu for taking the initiative to ensure that Cross State remains crime free in the season of sweetness.



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