9 November 2017

Nigeria: Govt Concludes First Phase of Boko Haram Prosecution - Official

Federal government, yesterday, said it has completed the first phase of prosecution of Boko Haram suspects in its custody, with the next phase to begin soon.

The solicitor-general of the Federation, Mr Dayo Apata, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, said the government was determined to bring all Boko Haram detainees to justice.

He spoke at the closure of public sitting/hearing by the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of the Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement.

Apata, who represented the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, stated that the prosecution would be done speedily but fairly and efficiently.

Although he did not say how many suspects were prosecuted in the first phase, Malami had earlier said the trials of 13 had been concluded.

In a statement in September, the minister said over 1,600 suspected Boko Haram terrorists were then in detention facilities in the country, and that their trial would begin on Oct. 9.

There have been calls from the public, especially members of the human rights community and civil society organisations, for the prosecution of the suspects in accordance with the law.

But the solicitor-general emphasised at yesterday's event that government "cannot sacrifice human rights in a bid to achieve speed in the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects".

"We are, however, committed to reducing the time frame for which these detainees have to wait for their trial.

"We are presently working on the modalities for a prosecution guideline for processing of Boko Haram detainees," Apata said.

He commended the chairman and members of the panel for the successful conclusion of their public hearings.

The solicitor-general said Nigerians and the international community were eagerly awaiting the panel's report, which he hoped would end all allegations of human rights violations against military personnel.

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