By Dilibe Michael
The Federal Government says it will soon begin the arraignment of 5,000 suspected Boko Haram members in various detention facilities across the country.
The Director-General of Legal Aid Council, Aliyu Abubakar, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to Borno Governor Babagana Zulum on Tuesday at the Maiduguri Government House.
Abubakar said that the inmate was detained at Giwa Barrack, Maiduguri, and Kainji Correctional facilities among others over their alleged involvement in the activities of Boko Haram.
He said that the trial would be conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Office of the National Security Advisers in collaboration with the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, while the Legal Aid Council was mandated to provide Defence for the inmates during the hearing of the case.
He explained that the legal aid team has so far interviewed about 283 as part of the efforts to established extend of their involvement as well as to understand the nature of the crimes they committed.
“As their defence council, we have to interview them from time to time to enable us to know their own part of the story. It so because regardless of the generous crimes they committed it is possible that out of hundreds, you may found out that one or two persons were innocent of the charges that they are being detained.
“It was necessary for them to be represented by counsel to make sure that the official fulfills all the requirements of the provisions of the law.
” All evidence must be presented against them before the court of the law so that those that were found guilty are prosecuted and face the consequences of their action.
“In as much as everybody is aware of the nature of the crime they have committed, under our laws, they are innocent until proven guilty.
The Director-General said that no matter the time of the crime they committed, they were entitled to a trial instead of the continued detention.
Abubakar appealed to the Governor to assist the Council with financial support as part of the responsibility of the state government provided in its mandate to enable it performs its duties effectively and comfortably.
He also lauded the leadership of Operation Lafiya Dole for providing the legal team with access to its detention facility to meet the inmates and interact with them.
He prayed that the recent changes made in the country’s Military leadership would transform into progress toward bringing an end to the scourge of insurgency and armed banditry in the country.
In his remarks, Governor Babagana Zulum said the government was ready to partner with the federal government to enable it achieved its mandate.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Zulum, lauded the council for providing legal support to the people of the state while assuring them that the government’s commitment toward supporting the activities of the council financially.
He also urged the federal government and other stakeholders to adopt a sustainability plan in the Operation Safe Corridor program geared toward the rehabilitation of persons connected to insurgency.
He said that lack of proper exit sustainability plans on the program has remained a major challenge hampering the success of the program in the state.