Abuja — The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar on Tuesday declared that the activities of terrorists in the country have driven both foreign and local investors out of the country.
This is as she warned that the trend has the risk of undermining the core values of the nation, which is the Rule of Law, respect for human rights, protection of civilians, and tolerance among the various ethnic groups in the country.
Mukhtar noted that "modern terrorism is a complex and ever-changing phenomenon."
Speaking in Abuja at the National Workshop for Judicial Officers on anti-Terrorism organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Crime and Drug (UNODC) and the European Union, the CJN pointed out that "the seminar is holding at a crucial time in the history of our Nation.
"We have recently been witnessing an upsurge in terrorist activities. The whole North-Eastern part of Nigeria has been beset by horrendous atrocities of the terrorist group called Boko Haram and their ignoble collaborators.
"This serene and beautiful city of Abuja has also recorded some devastating terrorist attacks that have left so many people dead and property worth billions of Naira destroyed, the latest in the series being the bomb explosions on two different occasions at Nyanya, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, and at EFAB Plaza, Abuja.
"Following the current trends adopted by the terrorists, it is my opinion that the theme for this workshop: 'The Rule of Law in the Adjudication of Cases on Terrorism' is most apt, as Nigeria and indeed the whole world is now more poised than ever to combat the menace called 'terrorism."
Justice Mukhtar noted that "terrorism undermines overall economic activities and development, thereby seriously affecting living standard of the poor segment of society. It has driven all investments away- both local and foreign. They see it as a sign of instability and a risk to safe investment. Terrorist attacks devalue the quality of life and affects the enjoyment of some basic rights like right to life, freedom of movement, access to possible employment and educational opportunities."
The CJN said that "faced with the above scenario, the strengthening of the capacity of the judicial officers on the systems adopted to suppress and combating terrorism becomes imperative and a crucial component of a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.
"This is because the perpetrators when apprehended must be brought for trial in full compliance with the National and International legal regime against terrorism and Rule of Law.
"This workshop will provide us with the opportunity of fashioning out feasible means of protecting and supporting witnesses and victims of terrorism. This is because any judicial system that does not earn the confidence of witnesses and victims may find it difficult to secure their cooperation and testimonies which are essential in ensuring that the parties receive the justice they deserve," she said.
In his welcome address the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Umaru Eri said that "The theme of this workshop: 'The Rule of Law in the Adjudication of Cases on Terrorism' could not have come at a better time, considering the high number of terrorism related cases streaming into our Courts on a regular basis."