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Nigeria govt resumes prosecution of Boko Haram suspects

The Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has ordered the resumption of prosecution of suspected Boko Haram insurgents detained in various locations of the country.

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the AGF, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, who disclosed this in a statement, yesterday, said the second phase of the trial would commence at Kainji detention facility in Niger State today.

According to him, the resumption of trial arose from the conclusion of investigation of over 1000 suspects as ordered by the court during its proceedings of October 2017 by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

He explained that it was expected that suspects with prima facie cases would be prosecuted, while others without it would have applications made for their discharge.

He said those discharged would undergo a process of deradicalization from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, before their final release to their families.

This exercise, which is a concerted effort of Federal Ministry of Justice and Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA. kicked off in Kainji, Niger State on Monday, October 9, 2017.

Four judges were allocated to four dedicated courts to handle the trials located in a military facility in Kainji, while defence counsel were provided for those suspects without capacity to hire private legal practitioners to defend them.

Unlike the first phase, which was restricted, Isah said this phase was opened with some civil society groups, including human rights organisation and journalists, invited to witness the proceedings.

He said already, about 82 Boko Haram detainees have so far benefited from the Federal Government’s window to plead guilty to secure low jail terms or unconditional release, which is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s concerted effort to boost its human right records and decongest the nation’s prisons.

Isah said About 45 convictions have also been pronounced by the trial judges in the four syndicated courts established by then acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Justice Abdu Kafarati.

According to him, the various Boko Haram suspects were sentenced to jail terms ranging from two to fifteen years, with most of them backdated to the date of their detention.

He said the second category was the set of suspects the Attorney-General found prima facie cases against and charges already filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division.

He stated also that the suspects were mostly those in the detention facility under reference and might be willing to plead guilty for a lesser sentences.

Isah said the third category were the suspects whose case files were either recommended for further investigation or had no investigation conducted on them at all and did not, therefore, have case files that would warrant the Attorney General of the

Federation to form any opinion in respect of their cases.

He also said the fourth category was that of the suspects whose cases were reviewed and a prima facie found and might be willing to opt for a full trial.

Some of the 468 of the 1,669 in Kainji detention facility suspects are to be discharged for lack of evidence and be engaged in the Federal Government’s De-radicalisation Programme through the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA.

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