FG to prosecute 1,670 Boko Haram suspects

The Federal Government on Sunday announced its plans for the cases involving suspected Boko Haram members, totalling 2, 541 , who are detained at Wawa Barracks in Kainji , Niger State and Maiduguri prison in Borno State .
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Mr . Abubakar Malami , said in a statement that the trial of the detainees would commence in October .
The statement signed by the AGF’ s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity , Mr . Salihu Isah, added that due to the lack of evidence for any successful prosecution, 220 suspects detained in Kainji would be released and and be made to go through a “de -radicalisation ” programme .
On the 220 suspects , Isah said, “ Boko Haram suspects who were hitherto investigated by the Joint Investigation Team set up by the Defence Headquarters otherwise known as DHQ / JIT and case files transmitted to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and after a careful review of the cases based on their individual merit , it was discovered that they have no prima facie cases that will sustain a charge against them in any court of law. Hence they were recommended for release and handed over to the Office of the National Security Adviser for rehabilitation and / or de - radicalisation. ”
Giving further analysis of the suspects , the statement read , “ Detainees recommended for release / de -radicalisation programme for want of evidence : 220 .
“ Detainees profiled at the Kainji Detention facility awaiting judicial proceedings / deradicalisation programme : 1 , 670.
“ The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubakar Malami , SAN , has approved a list of prosecutors to handle the cases and the Legal Aid Council has equally released a list of defence counsels to stand in for the detainees /defendants. ”
It added , “The proposed prosecution of over 1 , 600 detainees held in Kainji will commence by early October , 2017 after the opening of the new legal year .
“ Currently, four judges have been deputed by the chief judge of the Federal High Court to sit on the cases at Kainji and dispose of them expeditiously.
“ It is expected that the special prosecutions will start with the detainees in Kainji , followed closely by the disposal of the cases of the detainees in Giwa Barracks , Maiduguri until the cases are exhausted . ”
The statement noted that the Federal Government had so far concluded only 13 cases with nine convictions secured while there were 33 cases in different divisions of the Federal High Court.
Isah said some challenges identified during the on -the - spot assessment of the detention facilities included poorly investigated case files “due to pressure during the peak of conflict at the theatre ;” over - reliance on confession - based evidence ; lack of forensic evidence ; and absence of cooperation between investigators and prosecutors at pre -investigation stages .
Other challenges identified, according to Isah, were “ poor logistical facilities to transport defendants from detention facility to court for trial ; scarcity of skilled /trained forensic personnel to handle investigation of complex cases ; inadequate security for counsel handling terrorism cases ; and converting military intelligence to admissible evidence . ”