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FG To Resume Trial Of Boko Haram Suspects By March


The Federal Government to begin the Second phase trial of detained Boko Haram suspects in military facility in Niger State by March.

The planned trial of the Boko Haram suspects will resume in March, according to Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF) and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatrice Jedy-Agba.

As you may remember, the Federal Ministry of Justice recently acknowledged the special intervention given by President Muhammadu Buhari for the allocation of finances and other logistics for the start of the process.

The trial, which has been conducted in phases, was temporarily put on hold, according to the SGF, to enable appropriate investigation of the suspects and to put in place the necessary safeguards to ensure that they were given fair trials that would satisfy international standards.

She stated that the federal government was determined to making sure that justice was served in order to ease the minds of terror attack victims and survivors and to clear the detention facilities.

“The federal government is taking steps to reconfigure the military holding facilities to make it adaptable and conducive for recommencement of trials.

“We will start the prosecution by the end of the first quarter of 2023. We are in the process of renovating and, in fact, reconstructing facilities such as the Courtrooms and residential areas.

“It is important to ensure that there are enhanced measures put in place. We are utilizing Military facilities and therefore, they were not built like proper Courts.

“The resort to the use of Military facilities is to ensure that trials are conducted in a safe and secure environment. There are risks associated with moving such large number of accused persons at the same time for trial, so this is one critical issue that is of utmost concern.

“We have secured all relevant approvals to proceed with the projects and we are working very closely with the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and other military authorities to ensure that by the end of the first quarter of 2023, we will definitely start trials,” she added.

Besides, Mrs Jedy-Agba, said the Federal Ministry of Justice was concerned about the pain and plight of victims of terrorism, likewise the sensitive issue of the rights of the accused persons.

“The whole idea is to ensure that while respecting the rights of the defendants, we also have to consider the sensibilities of Nigerians who have been victims of terrorism, as well as the general security of Nigerians as a whole.

“So, we will, as much as possible, ensure that the minimum human rights requirements are met. We will open the trial venue for observations of select Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), as well as human rights institutions, like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

“We are working with the Legal Aid Council (LAC) and other stakeholders to ensure that accused persons have access to justice.

“We are obviously not going to open the place up, because of security concerns. I’m sure you are aware that recently, like a few weeks ago, there was an attempt to hit the facility.

“So, obviously, it is not going to be as open as you may want because we want to ensure that the security of our judges, witnesses and interpreters are protected,” she added.

The SGF said the number of accused persons in the scheduled trial was huge and appreciable, saying she was however not in a position to give the specific number as arrests were still being made in the anti-terrorism fight.

“I don’t want to be specific on that, because the figure changes every time, as security agencies keep making arrests.

“I cannot say for certain, how many they are right now. But it is quite a sizeable number’’, the SGF added.