Trial of 5,000 suspected Boko Haram insurgents to begin soon says Legal Aid Council


The Federal Government will soon begin the trial of 5,000 suspected Boko Haram members who are in various detention facilities across the country, the Director General of Legal Aid Council, Aliyu Abubakar has said.

Abubakar gave the assurance on Tuesday during an audience with Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum at the Government House, Maiduguri.

Abubakar, who was received by the Borno Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Kadafur as the Governor was not on hand to receive him, said the trial would be conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Office of the National Security Advisers in collaboration with the Theartre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, while the Legal Aid Council has been mandated to provide defence for the inmates.

He explained that the legal aid team has so far interviewed 283 suspects as part of efforts to establish their involvement in terrorism and as well understand the nature of the crime they committed.

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Abubakar said: “As their defence counsel, we have to interview them from time to time to enable us know their own part of the story. This is so because regardless of the crimes they have committed, it is possible that out of hundreds, you may find out that one or two persons are innocent.

“It is necessary for them to be represented by this council to make sure that all the requirements of the law are fulfilled. All evidence must be presented against them before the court of the law so that those found guilty would be prosecuted. In as much as every body is aware of the nature of the crime they have committed, under our laws, they are innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

He applauded the leadership of Operation Lafiya Dole for providing the legal team with access to its detention facility to meet and interact with the inmates.

He said the recent changes made in the military leadership was a welcome one as it would transform into progress in the quest to bring an end to insurgency and banditry in the country.

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Governor Zulum said the government is ready to partner with the federal government to enable it achieve its mandate.

He praised the Council for providing legal support to the people of the state, while assuring them of the government’s commitment to support the them financially.

He also urged the federal government and other stakeholders to adopt a sustainable plan in the Operation Safe Corridor programme geared towards the rehabilitation of former insurgents.

He however said the lack of a proper exit sustainability plan in the programme has hampered its success.

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