The regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.d), is getting ready to bring charges against Boko Haram suspects.
A military base in Kainji, Niger state, is where the suspects are being detained until March 2023, according to information previously obtained by WITHIN NIGERIA.
The declaration was made over the weekend by the Nigeria’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Beatrice Jedy-Agba.
Jedy-Agba stated that thorough preparations have been taken in order to resume the prosecution of accused Boko Haram members.
Jedy-Agba noted that the Buhari administration is dedicated to enforcing the law, relieving the suffering of victims and survivors, and decisively and irrevocably decongesting the holding facility.
According to her, mitigating circumstances like thorough investigation and, more importantly, the requirement to put in place the necessary infrastructure and safeguards for proper and fair trials in order to meet minimum global standards, could be blamed for the delay in the accused people’s trials.
In her words; “Government is taking steps to reconfigure the military holding facilities to make it adaptable and conducive for recommencement of trials, maintaining that there is a paramount official commitment to making sure that the atmosphere and ambience of the venue for trials conformed to best global practices.
“We will start the prosecution by the end of the first quarter of 2023. We are in the process of renovating and, in fact, reconstructing facilities such as the Courtrooms and residential areas.
“It is important to ensure that there are enhanced measures put in place. We are utilizing Military facilities and therefore, they were not built like proper Courts. The resort to the use of Military facilities is to ensure that trials are conducted in a safe and secure environment.
“There are risks associated with moving a such large number of accused persons at the same time for trial, so this is one critical issue that is of utmost concern.
“We have secured all relevant approvals to proceed with the projects and we are working very closely with the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and other military authorities to ensure that by the end of the first quarter of 2023, we will definitely start trials.”
In response to a question about whether federal government prosecutors are prepared to commit to best practices, in particular the respect for the rights of those who have been accused of a crime, Jedy-Agba said that the Federal Ministry of Justice is equally concerned about the suffering and plight of terrorist victims as it is mindful of the rights of those who have been charged with a crime in upcoming trials.
She added; “The whole idea is to ensure that while respecting the rights of the defendants, we also have to consider the sensibilities of Nigerians who have been victims of terrorism, as well as the general security of Nigerians as a whole.
“So, we will, as much as possible, ensure that the minimum human rights requirements are met. We will open the trial venue for observations of select Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), as well as human rights institutions, like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). We are working with the Legal Aid Council (LAC) and other stakeholders to ensure that accused persons have access to justice.
“We are obviously not going to open the place up, because of security concerns. I’m sure you are aware that recently, like a few weeks ago, there was an attempt to hit the facility. So, obviously, it’s not going to be as open as you may want, because we want to ensure that the security of our judges, witnesses and interpreters are protected.”
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