Nigeria Govt Identifies 400 Suspected Boko Haram Financiers for Trial - AGF

The AGF says the government will soon "resuscitate and reinvigorate the existing special terrorism courts in the country" for the purpose of prosecuting the 400 suspects.

The Nigerian government is about to begin the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, said on Thursday.

Mr Malami said the government would soon "resuscitate and reinvigorate the existing special terrorism courts in the country" for that purpose.

This comes about a week after Mr Malami told reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja that the government was profiling some high-profile Nigerians strongly suspected to be financing terrorism for prosecution.

He had disclosed that investigations revealing the suspected terrorism financiers were triggered by a recent conviction of some Nigerians in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) for funding Boko Haram.

When asked about the number of the suspects already identified, he said it could not be given because investigations were still ongoing.

Mr Malami,however, gave a clue about the number in a statement released by his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, to commemorate the Eid-el-Fitr celebration on Thursday.

The minister also said the government was taking more measures to counter insurgency and general insecurity in addition to the move to prosecute the 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers.

"He said in addition to the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the government has taken more measures to counter the twin trouble of insurgency and insecurity in the country.

"Malami said very soon, the Federal Government will, through the Federal Ministry of Justice's Complex Case Group, resuscitate and reinvigorate the existing special terrorism prosecution courts in the country in order bring to book all those found guilty so as to serve as deterrence to others," the statement read in part.

He urged Muslims to continue to be law-abiding, have sober reflection and exhibit the imbibed lessons learnt during the period of Ramadan fast as they celebrate Eid-el-fitr.

He saluted "the commitment of clerics in enlightening their followers on various issues during the months urging them to maintain the tempo even beyond the period of Ramadan."

'Special terrorism prosecution courts'

The minister did not give the details of the special terrorism prosecution courts where he said the government intends to try the suspected Boko Haram suspects, but officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice told PREMIUM TIMES that it is about an arrangement the ministry has with the Federal High Court.

The arrangement, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they have not been given an approval to speak to the press about the issue, involves deployment of some designated judges of the Federal High Court to various detention facilities where terrorism suspects are held in the country.

Over 1,000 terrorism suspects detained in military detention in Kainji, Niger State, have been prosecuted under the arrangement.

The choice of the Federal High Court for the cases is because it is the court with exclusive jurisdiction to handle terrorism matters.

The justice ministry liaises with other relevant security agencies and prosecutes the cases through its Complex Case Group which handles he prosecution of terrorism related cases.

The move to prosecute the alleged terrorism financiers is coming amid heightened attacks by Boko Haram, non-state actors and other perpetrators of violent crimes in different parts of the country.

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