The Federal Government has said that it has saved a whopping N4.5 trillion from effective defence of cases against it, adding that it has secured a total of 255 convictions while 737 persons were discharged in the second phase trial of Boko Haram terrorists at Kainji, Niger State.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) disclosed this on Wednesday to State House Correspondents at the end of the over five hours Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami presented a scorecard from 2015-2017 to council, focusing on sector reforms, prison decongestions, prosecution and defence of cases, prosecution of Boko Haram cases and number of convictions recorded as well as number of discharge and number of plea bargain cases including high profile one.
Malami said, “In respect of Federal Ministry of Justice, what was presented to the council today is the score card from 2015 to 2017.
“The Federal Government has put in place a committee saddled with the responsibilities of coming up with policies and strategies that will ease off congestion of prisons.
“Over 70 percent of the inmates are awaiting trials, there are sizeable number that couldn’t afford to pay limited fine that have been imposed on them arriving from their convictions.
“There are those awaiting trials that have never seen the court room for over five years and above and indeed there are multiple legislations that are before the National Assembly that are intended to support the decongestion of prison formation process.
“We equally presented a score card as to cases both civil, criminal that were prosecuted by the Federal Ministry of Justice and their implications as to savings that were done for the government commencing from 2015 to the present time.
“Fundamentally arising from the cases that were conducted by the Federal Ministry of Justice, the ministry has succeeded in saving for the federal government around N4.5trillion relating to the claims that were presented in respect of these cases which were indeed conducted and concluded.
“Added area over which we presented our score card has equally to do with the prosecution of Boko Haram cases which are ongoing. We presented a position as to the number of cases that were prosecuted, number of convictions that were procured and the number of discharges that were made relating to the cases and then made a presentation as to the road maps for the continuation of the process.
“There were other presentations that were made particularly as it relates to plea bargain. There are a lot of pending criminal cases in respect of which of the accused persons standing trials made offers for plea bargain.
“Again there are high profile cases that we made our score card and gave an insight as to their respective positions.
“A presentation was made relating to national prosecution team as it relates to the cases they are expected to prosecute.”
Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, presented high nutrient biscuit developed and proposed for inclusion in the federal government’s School Feeding Programme.
He said the high nutrient density products will provide at least a third of the desired major macro and micro nutrients requirement stipulated by the World Health organization, Food and Nutrition Board.
He added: “Additionally, the products will be produced by NASCO Foods Limited, Jos that has state-of-the-art processing equipment with vast experience in Food processing, Food Safety and quality for production and supply chain nationwide.
“The developed nutritious products have been tested using NASCO Food processing facilities in Jos and have been found to be technically and economically viable.
“The pupils in the schools in Jos and Lagos where the sensory evaluation and consumer acceptability studies were done showed strong likeness for the products and are ready to consume the products if included in the school feeding program.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who presented his ministry’s scorecard from 2015-2017, said that the ministry got Special Intervention Fund to rescue many embassies in distress in several countries of the world.
“First was in 2016 when the Naira was fluctuating terribly and of course the dollars our embassies were receiving were too low to sustain them.
“We received initially N16.3billion and was successfully distributed to all embassies.
The second one was N933million for renovations and other debts released in October, 2017.
“The third was $32million that were released for critically distressed 65 missions that were in serious debts and crisis. This was approved in November 2017 and we are in the process of distributing to the embassies around the world.
“Another one, $28million and is the process of also being distributed and finally for ministry headquarters, the sum of N7billion was made.
“A lot of the debts and the crisis in our embassies and missions around the world have been building over the last 10 years and Mr. President decided that he will no longer accept the situation where we are sending Nigerians out to represent this country and not given them the resources to be able to carry out their tasks. Hence he made provisions and directed that these funds should be released to them.
“So the situation is still not perfect but this has come in very handily and of course in the interest of transparency we wanted to show how these funds had been disbursed.”
The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said council approved the award of Ibadan – Kaduna rail at the cost of $6.7billion, with completion period of three years.
Also, the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello said that Council also gave two approvals to the Federal Capital Territory. The award of supply of chemicals to FCT water companies at the cost of N273 million and the reconstruction of Bill Clinton Drive, which has started showing sign of failure after 20 years at the cost of N1.9billion with seven months completion.