The Federal Government has said it will soon begin the arraignment of 5,000 suspected Boko Haram members in various detention facilities across the country.
The Director General of Legal Aid Council, Aliyu Abubakar, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum at the Maiduguri Government House.
Abubakar said that the inmates were detained at Giwa Barrack, Maiduguri and Kainji Correctional facilities among others over their alleged involvement in the activities of the Boko Haram.
He said that 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 was mandated to provide Defence for the inmates during the hearing of the case.
He explained that the legal aid team have so far interviewed about 283 as part of the efforts to established extend of their involvement as well as to understand the nature of the crimes they committed.
“As their defence council, we have to interview them from time to time to enable us to know their own part of the story.
It so because regardless of the generous crimes they committed, it is possible that out of hundreds, you may find out that one or two persons were innocent of the charges that they are being detained.
“It was neccessary for them to be represented by council to make sure that the Officials fullfill all the requirement of the provisions of the law.” All evidence must be presented against them before the court of the law so that those that were found guilty are prosecuted and face the consequences of their action.
“In as much as every body is aware of the nature of the crime they have committed, under our laws, they are innocent untill proven guilty.
The Director General said that no matter the time of crime they committed, they were entitled to a trial instead of the continued detention.
Abubakar appealed to the Governor to assist the Council with finnancial support as part of the responsibility of the state government supporting in its mandate, so as to enable it perform its duties effectively and comfortably.
He also lauded the leadership of Operation Lafiya Dole for providing the legal team with access to its detention facility to meet the inmates and interact with them.
He said with the recent changes made in the country’s Military leadership, there is transformation into progress towards bringing an end to the scourge of insurgency and armed banditry in the country.
In his remarks, Governor Babagana Zulum, said the government was ready to partner with the federal government to enable it achieved its mandate.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Zulum, lauded the council for providing legal support to the people of the state while assuring them that the government’s commitment toward supporting the activities of the council finnancially.
He also urged the federal government and other stakeholders to adopt a sustainability plans in the Operation Safe Corridor program geared towards rehabilitation of persons connected to insurgency.
He said that lack of proper exit sustainability plans on the program has remained a major challenge hampering the success of the program in the state.