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House of Reps Passes Terrorism, Money Laundering and Three Other Executive Bills

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At an emergency session of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 4th May 2022, it passed five Executive bills as follows:

  • Terrorism (Prohibition and Prevention) Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022
  • Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2022
  • Witness Protection and Management Bill, 2022
  • Public Interest Disclosure and Protection Bill, 2022
  • Proceeds of Crimes Bill, 2022 

It will be recalled that the House since it resumed from its Easter break, has been sitting intermittently due to preparations for political party primaries ahead of the 2023 general elections, hence the emergency session to attend to these bills.

These five bills, although bordering on distinct subjects are directed towards establishing a framework for preventing,  identifying and tackling illicit financial transactions, gains derived from criminal dealings, unlawful activities within the management, and administration of public office or authority and protection of whistle blowers and witnesses who provide relevant information to law enforcement agencies.

The Senate had passed the Proceeds of Crime, Money Laundering and Public Interest Disclosure bills in March 2022, while the Witness Protection and Management bill passed Second Reading earlier in January 2022. Also, the Senate on 27th April 2022 passed a bill to amend the Terrorism Act 2013 to outlaw payment of ransom to abductors, kidnappers and terrorists for the release for any person who has been wrongfully confined, imprisoned or kidnapped. The passage of the bill prohibiting the payment of ransom for kidnap victims elicited outrage from Nigerians.  This is in the light of the fact that worsening insecurity in the country has taken various forms, including kidnapping, with security agents appearing helpless in such situations and leaving victims and their families to their fate. In most cases, the last resort or indeed, the only resort appears to be the payment of ransom to secure the release of the victims.

It is expected that before forwarding the passed bills to the President for assent, the two houses will harmonise the versions of the bills they have passed in the event that any differences exist.