The Niger State Government has criminalised the thuggery and consumption of hard drugs and other illegal substances ahead of the 2019 general elections. Governor Abubakar Bello, on Tuesday, signed into law a bill to “prohibit thuggery, use of intoxicants and for matters connected thereto, 2018.”
He explained that bill had given more power to security agents to perform their duties while making provisions for tough penalties for offenders.
According to the bill, a copy of which was made available to Northern City News on Tuesday, “anyone that facilitates the provision of a weapon for use in a political rally, public gathering or public place commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or a fine of N1m.”
The law further stipulated that “whoever facilitates, sells or is found in possession of any substance that intoxicates shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months and not exceeding seven years and a fine of not less than N200,000 and forfeiture of the substances.”
It also prescribed punishment for anyone, other than a law enforcement agent, who displayed or used a weapon at a political rally or public gathering.
Such offence, it said, is punishable with one year imprisonment or N500,000 fine.
In addition, the law stipulated that anyone who facilitates thuggery would be deemed to have committed an offence punishable with six months imprisonment or N200,000 fine.
Bello said the law was promulgated to bring sanity to the campaign process and discourage youths from being used as political thugs before, during and after elections.
He said some desperate politicians had ruined the lives of young men and women by engaging them as thugs and providing them with hard drugs and other intoxicants.