A third-term member of the National Assembly from Oyo State, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, has advocated capital punishment for people found guilty of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and other criminal vices, in order to check the rising spate of criminalities in the country.
Buhari, who had served as Commissioner Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Oyo State, was a member of House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. He was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT)/Cybercrime in the 8th National Assembly, and he is also a member of the current 9th Assembly, representing Oyo North senatorial district.
Addressing journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State capital on the insecurity in the country on Sunday, Buhari said: “It is worrisome. It is about Nigeria. I am sorry for saying this, I believe and I’m afraid for Nigerians themselves because we have not been able to take a drastic measure.
“I believe that by the time any of these people are caught, I mean those who engage in such vices, (I’m sorry, I’m not being inhumane here), and there is a firing squad, other people will learn, and they will stop.
“But, by taking them to court, it takes a longer time. It is becoming a business and it is no longer about Fulani herdsmen; people have now taken it as a trade and business. You will just see two or three people there who kidnap and ask for ransom.
“When they collect the money in cash, they take it to the bank. So, you want to tell me that no bank can report that they have received certain kind of strange and huge amount into a particular account, so there should be a drastic measure?
“Let me take you back, in 1983, when we were in university, that was the time that there was this issue of hard drugs – cocaine. But we had the case of two people who went into it and were shot. Nigerians ran away entirely from drugs.
“Take Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bangkok or India for instance, if you go there with drugs and you are caught, it is firing squad or they cut off the person’s head. So, if you are going, you know the repercussion.
“So, for these kidnappers, up till this moment, they have been arresting and arresting them, nothing has been done. And we know Nigerians; we are very stubborn people, except there is a deterrent, serious deterrent, that is the only time people will sit up.
“If you look at it now, you will discover that they are recruiting young guys, just because there is no punitive measure. We need to take that harsh decision in order for us to stop.
“Having said this, the government itself needs to wake up and do the needful because the primary assignment of any government is security.
“If capital punishment will solve the problem, why not? That was why I said that I am afraid of Nigerians themselves; the next thing you will hear is that they will be saying, we didn’t ask them to do this or do that. For instance, if a man from a particular tribe or religion is caught, the people will then change the sing-song, they will tilt it to look like it was because the person was from the particular tribe or religion. We need to be honest and sincere in whatever we are doing. This country belongs to all of us and we need to sit up.”