Leadership (Abuja)

5 December 2012

Nigeria: Try Terrorists Under Other Laws

Photo: Vanguard
The threat to Nigeria.

editorial

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, recently blamed the inability of the Nigeria Police to prosecute suspected terrorists on the absence of relevant laws. We think the IGP was displaying ignorance on the extant laws of the land.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 which defines and stipulates penalties for acts of terrorism in Nigeria had long been passed into law and duly assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan. No wonder he was roundly scolded by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the National Assembly.

The IG should also be notified, if indeed he is ignorant of the existence of our laws on murder and other crimes, especially Section 14, particularly subsection 2 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act. For instance, that section provides that "any person who commits or attempts to commit a terrorist act, or participates in or facilitates the commission of a terrorist act, commits an offence under this act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life." So what is the IGP talking about?

For him to embark on this idle talk gives us a lot of concern as to his competence and understanding of the menace we are faced with. Abubakar had better pick up some elementary studies or hire legal advisers to explain to him that what Article 40a of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act of 2002 means in Part VII by "any act in violation of the Criminal or the Penal Code endangering lives, physical integrity or freedom of, or cause serious injury or death to, any person, any number or group of person or causes or may cause damage to public property, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage and is calculated or intended to- (i) Intimidate, put in fear, force, coerce or induce any government, body, institution, the general public or segment thereof, to do or abstain from doing any act or to adopt or abandon a particular standpoint, or to act according to certain principles."

We also have Sections 308 and 220 of the Criminal and Penal Code respectively that condemns any person who caused the death of another directly or indirectly actuating the act by the element of "Actus Reus ", which is deliberately causing the death of another human being in circumstances, which are not authorised by law.

Clearly stating that only the public hangman is protected from duties of this nature recognised by law is not only bizarre, it is reprehensible. There is no ambiguity whatsoever in prosecuting any felon that commits an offence as dire as taking the life of another not to talk of homicide of a great number of people. It is unfathomable to think that the Inspector General of Police is oblivious of these laws.

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