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Nigeria: FG to commence trial of over 1600 suspected Boko Haram terrorists
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By Staff Reporter
September 24, 2017 09:23:28am GMT      |      Views: 425
Photographs 100 top Boko Haram terrorists declared wanted by Nigerian Army

WorldStage Newsonline—The Federal Government of Nigeria through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation is set to begin the arraignment of suspected Boko Haram suspects in various detention facilities in the country on Monday, October 9, 2017.

A statement by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) gave the status of terrorism cases as at 11th Sept 2017 to include Concluded cases 13; Convictions 9; Ongoing trials at various Federal High Court Divisions 33 cases; Charges filed awaiting trial in Kainji  116 cases; Detainees recommended for release / deradicalisation programme for want of evidence 220; Detainees profiled at the Kainji Detention Facility awaiting judicial proceedings / deradicalisation programme 1670; Detainees remanded at the Federal High Court, Maiduguri and transferred from Giwa Barracks to Maiduguri Prisons: 651

He also listed some challenges being faced in prosecuting the cases to include, Poorly investigated case files due to pressure during the peak of conflict at the theatre; Over reliance on confession based evidence; Lack of forensic evidence; Absence of cooperation between investigators and prosecutors at pre investigation stages; Poor logistical facilities to transport defendants from detention facility to court for trial; Scarcity of skilled/trained forensic personnel to handle investigation of complex cases;    Inadequate security for counsel handling terrorism cases; Converting military intelligence to admissible evidence.

“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has approved a list of prosecutors to handle the cases and the Legal Aid Council has equally released a list of defence counsels to stand in for the detainees/defendants,” the statement said.

“The proposed prosecutions of over 1600 detainees held in Kainji will commence by early October, 2017 after the opening of the new legal year; Currently, four judges have been deputed by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to sit on the cases at Kainji and dispose of them expeditiously.

“It is expected that the special prosecutions will start with the detainees in Kainji followed closely by the disposal of the cases of the detainees in Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri until the cases are exhausted.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as the coordinator of terrorism matters is expected to assist the court by providing the relevant detainees access to deradicalisation programmes where necessary.

“This is the report of the on-the-spot assessment of the facilities and other incidentals preparatory to the commencement of trial of the over 1600 suspected Boko Haram terrorist in detained in a military detention facility located in Wawa Barracks, Kainji, New Bussa, Niger State following successes recorded by the Nigeria Army and other security agencies in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.

“ A team comprising representative of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Federal High Court and the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation were dispatched to Kainji from the 12th to 14th of September, 2017 to carry out the assessment and to discuss with relevant authorities and organisation in final preparation of the all-important national assignment.”

The statement listed four categories of the suspects as:

*Boko Haram suspects who were hitherto investigated by the Joint Investigation Team set up by the Defence Headquarters otherwise known as DHQ/JIT and case files transmitted to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and after a careful review of the cases based on their individual merit, it was discovered that they have no prima facie cases that will sustain a charge against them in any court of law hence were recommended for release and handed over to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) for rehabilitation and/or de-radicalisation.

*The second category is the set of suspects that the Honourable Attorney-General found prima facie cases against them and charges already filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division who are also mostly in the detention facility under reference and may be willing to plead guilty for a lesser sentences.

*The other category are the suspects whose case file are either recommended for further investigation or that have no investigation conducted on them at all hence they do not have case files that will warrant the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to form any opinion in respect of their case.

*Lastly, the fourth category is the suspects whose cases were reviewed and a prima facie were found and may be willing to opt for a full trial.

“From the above categorisation, it is important to state that the number of the suspects affected by any of the aforementioned categories would only be determined when the trial has commenced,” the statement said.

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