30 November 2012

Nigeria: Borno Calls for Public Petitions Over Arbitrary Arrests

Maiduguri — Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan, the acting Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Borno State, yesterday called on residents to submit formal petitions on alleged arbitrary arrests of their children by the Joint Task Force (JTF) to enable his ministry to secure their release.

Daily Trust reports that there are increased cases of alleged illegal incarceration of youth in Maiduguri, especially those between the age of 15 and 35 on the allegation that they are members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

The commissioner, who addressed a press conference on the activities of the ministry of justice in the last 17 months, said the state government was doing everything possible to ensure that the rights of the citizens are protected.

"This year alone, Governor Kashim Shettima has approved the appointment of eight high court judges, 10 magistrates and 29 sharia court judges, all in an effort to ensure speedy dispensation of justice," he said.

The commissioner explained that government was much ready to intervene in genuine cases and urged the aggrieved parents to channel their petitions to the Department of Citizens' Rights of the ministry.

"Let me make it clear that our hands are tight because so far government is yet to receive any formal complain on the issue of illegal arrest. That notwithstanding, I wish to appeal to the affected families not hesitate in filing formal complaints to enable us pursue the cases with facts," he said.

He said a new outfit, known as the "Directorate of Citizens Right" had been established in the ministry to serve as public complaint department which aims at encouraging seeking redress through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) instead of litigations.

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