22 January 2018

Nigeria: NBA Visits Victims of New Year Day Attack in Benue

Abuja — A delegation of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) led by its President, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), at the weekend embarked on a fact finding mission to Benue State, with a view to assisting the federal and state governments to find lasting solution to the perennial herdsmen /farmers clashes threatening the fabric of the Nigerian nation.

The delegation in its bid to get first hand information, interacted with some of the affected victims located at the Daudu Internally Displaced Camp in Guma Local Government in Benue State.

Speaking in an emotional laden voice, the NBA President, who was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Justice Patricia Mahmoud, assured the victims that perpetrators would be apprehended and brought to justice.

"We have been following the development and we have come to see what has happened and hear from the victims," he said.

Addressing stakeholders earlier at a one-day town hall meeting, the NBA boss promised that the NBA would carry out a detailed table review of the issues raised by the stakeholders and come up with a logical conclusion.

"The Bar has been consistently associated with the rule of law. We are concern that whatever our contribution is, it will be concise and practical.

"We are also concern in bringing this circle of violence to an end. The NBA will look at the evidence and content of facts, careful analysis of all the facts and come out with a logical conclusion," Mahmoud stressed.

On their part, the stakeholders comprising religious leaders, traditional rulers, state government representatives and civil society organisations, all condemned the carnage, adding that the way the federal government has so far handled the issue has made them lose confidence in the Nigerian nation.

The Chairman of the Benue State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr. Akpen Leva, berated President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to visit the state, particularly over the new year's day attack in which 73 persons were killed.

He said, the president's long silence over the killings in Benue is becoming a call for concern wondering why the president could visit Benue State for his presidential campaign but would deliberately refused to visit and console the people of the state in their moment of grief.

Leva also joined others, including the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, to call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of leaders of Maiyiti Allah Association, whom is been accused as the mastermind of the dastardly act.

"The people of the state were living in peace until last year when the anti grazing law was enacted, the herdsmen started killing our people and they are still threatening us.

"We are still living in fear because the whole of Benue State is under siege," Leva added.

Meanwhile, the NBA has said the implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 in states across the country will help tackle existing and emerging areas of crime and criminality in the country as well as ensure the effective and efficient administration of the criminal justice system.

It lamented that since the introduction of the ACJA 2015, only selected states of the federation have successfully domesticated the Act; thus making it imperative for increased sensitisation to promote the domestication and harmonised implementation of the ACJA 2015 across Nigeria.

Speaking at a one day state validation public forum with relevant stakeholders' meeting in Akwa Ibom State organised by NBA-MAC Arthur project team, the 3rd Vice President of the NBA, Ben Orji Esq, who represented the President of the NBA, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN said, "the administration of criminal justice project supported by MacArthur Foundation falls squarely within the thematic areas set out in the NBA strategic plan and include: Justice sector reforms, rule of law and access to justice, elections and democracy, human rights, anticorruption and, lastly, conflict resolution and transitional justice"

Delivering the opening remarks, Muritala Abdul-Rasheed, Esq, who gave the overview of the project said, "The purpose of today's validation public forum with stakeholders in Akwa Ibom state is to assemble key stakeholders, ACJ practitioners and members of the public at the state level to validate the Akwa Ibom State ACJ law."

The workshop is also scheduled to take place in other phase1 states of Bayelsa, Edo, Ogun, Kano, Kogi, Jigawa, Bauchi and Adamawa.

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