Fed Government to begin trial of Boko Haram suspects

Boko Haram suspects

• Ndume flays N45b PCNI budget for humanitarian crises

The Federal Government is set to begin the arraignment of suspected Boko Haram members in various detention facilities across the country.

A statement issued yesterday from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, stated that the arraignment would begin on Monday, October 9.

The AGF stated that so far, 13 cases have been concluded, nine convictions secured, while 33 cases are still on going at various Federal High Court divisions. Also, 116 cases are awaiting trial in Kainji.

Malami also put the number of detainees recommended for release and deradicalisation programme for want of evidence at 220. Those profiled at the Kainji detention facility, awaiting judicial proceedings and deradicalisation programme were put at 1670 while those remanded at the Federal High Court, Maiduguri and transferred from Giwa Barracks to Maiduguri Prisons were 651.

The AGF listed some of the challenges affecting prosecution of the alleged Boko Haram members, to include poorly investigated case files due to pressure during the peak of conflict at the theatre.

Others are, over reliance on confession based evidence, lack of forensic evidence, absence of cooperation between investigators and prosecutors at pre-investigation stages as well as poor logistical facilities to transport defendants from detention facility to court for trial.

The AGF also listed scarcity of skilled or trained forensic personnel to handle investigation of complex cases inadequate security for counsel handling terrorism cases as well as conversion of military intelligence to admissible evidence.

The statement further read that the AGF has approved the list of prosecutors to handle the cases while the Legal Aid Council has equally released a list of defence counsels to stand in for the detainees/defendants.

Meanwhile, Senator Ali Ndume has said that the N45 billion budgeted for the Presidential Committee for the North-East Initiatives (PCNI); to address humanitarian crises and feeding of 1.7 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, was grossly inadequate, compared to the United Nations donor agencies’ commitments.

Ndume raised the alarm yesterday in Maiduguri, while fielding questions from journalists on critical issues affecting IDPs in the insurgency affected region of six states in the northeast.

He said despite the lingering humanitarian crises in the region, nobody is saying anything about it. His words: “Before I went on suspension we went to the leadership of Federal House of Representatives and the Senate to appeal for an increase of PCNI budget. We are faced with this unfortunate situation of Boko Haram insurgency.

“I’m surprised that nothing was done, despite the fact that the nation budget was increased by over N100 billion. I thought that the northeast budget had been increased to reasonable budgetary allocations.’’

In another development, the Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Damian Chukwu, has averted the forceful return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps to Bama town, over alleged shortages of food to feed 6, 550 returning persons that attempted to trek to their community without military

The IDPs, comprising women and children, had defied insecurity and landmines along the 78-kilometer Maiduguri-Bama road. The leader of the organisers for the Bama trekking, Alhaji Grema Kyari said that their decision was informed by the increasing number of IDPs dying as a result of lack of coping mechanism.

“Our decision to return to Bama was long overdue. For how long are we going to continue in the unholy situation and harsh living conditions we found ourselves?” asked Kyari.

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