At least 386 Boko Haram terrorists have been tried and convicted in the country, while 1,227 suspects were discharged between October 2017 and 2019 for want of evidence.
A statistical data exclusively obtained in Abuja from the Ministry of Justice also showed that 40 cases were still pending. According to the document, 233 charges were preferred in 2019 alone. It further revealed that 1,970 suspects were remanded in various detention facilities across the country within the period. The figure is for cases tried in a court in Kainji, Niger State, while 19 cases are being tried outside the town and 16 others adjourned.
Reports shows that over 800 Boko Haram terrorists were rehabilitated and reintegrated into their various communities under Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC). OPSC is a unique non-kinetic operation aimed at giving hope to ex-combatants who willingly give up their arms to embrace peace.
It is a Defence Headquarters (DHQ)-led multi-agency humanitarian effort based on De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) of ex-combatant Boko Haram members that willingly surrender, which was established in September 2015 and became operational in 2016. The coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said Operation Safe Corridor is guided by other provisions such as International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws.
“It is being administered by 468 staff drawn from 17 organizations including the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), Law Enforcement and Security Agencies, other Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including North East Development Commission (NEDC) as well as locals from Gombe, where the DRR camp is located,” he said.
Although the Defence Headquarters DHQ has serially maintained that the reintegrated ex-combatants are considered low risk, a legal luminary Barr Labaran Shuaibu Magaji, differed on that. He argued that they are all considered BHTs suspects unless proven. To ensure their human rights are not infringed, he said the Ministry contacted Legal Aid Council to provide counsel to the defendants who were tried accordingly in Kainji, Abuja and Minna.
Speaking further, Barr Magaji noted that although there were elements of terrorism in the country since 2004, there were no enabling laws for them to be tried despite criminal and penal codes. He said the terrorism prevention Act of 2011 had its shortcomings which were not captured and was therefore amended in 2013 as the terrorism prevention Amendment Act 2013.
He said even though it was amended, the 2013 Act did not repeal the 2011 laws so has to be used side by side. He revealed that contrary to insinuations, the Ministry of Justice has no business with the surrendered Boko Haram terrorists undergoing rehabilitation and reintegration. He however queried the yardstick used by the security forces to determine high risk and low risk
terrorists. NAF Refutes Report Of Helicopter Crash In Bama
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday refuted report of a purported helicopter crash in Bama, Borno State, describing it as false. Spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, while reacting to the story, said the military did a thorough investigation and found out that there was no crash anywhere in Bama. He said the story was “a figment of the imagination of the journalist that reported it. “I can tell you authoritatively that there was no crash in Bama and Boko Haram did not shoot down any helicopter,” Enenche added.
Also speaking to our correspondent, the spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), Ms Eve Sabbagh, said she was surprised to read that a Nigerien helicopter was shut down by Boko Haram terrorists somewhere in Bama.She equally noted that the rumour that perhaps it could have been a UN helicopter was also untrue, adding that “none of our helicopter crashed,” Sabbagh added.
It was reported in a section of the media that the Boko Haram terrorists had shot down a Nigerien helicopter in Bama. According to the report, five persons were killed in the incident which occurred Tuesday at about 10am near Banki town in Bama local government area of the state, which is bordering Cameroon Republic.
Meanwhile, Borno State governor, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, was in Chibok has ordered the immediate rehabilitation of Government Secondary School Chibok where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted by the Boko Haram sect on April 14, 2014. Although the defunct Presidential Committee on Northeast Intervention (PCNI) had done some work in the school, majority of roofs were missing when Zulum visited the town on assessment tour.
Zulum’s directive is coming five years after former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in March 2015, secretly flew into Chibok town and laid foundation for the construction of a new school of international standard to replace the vandalised school.
The federal government under President Goodluck Jonathan had initiated the project without involving the state government. But when Zulum visited the school alongside stakeholders and community leaders in Chibok, nothing had been done as the school remained what it was since the day it was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists six years ago.
Ordering rebuilding of the school, the governor said, “I hereby direct the ministry of education to deploy a team of experts to assess the entire school and come up with a design and costing so that I can approve the immediate reconstruction and remodeling of this school.
“We will also ensure that the school is allocated adequate teachers,already I have given a directive for recruitment of more teachers both on permanent and ad-hoc staffing that will include volunteer teachers.“Of course, before allocation of teachers, the reconstruction will involve the provision of all components of learning materials including functional laboratory for sciences. By the time I return
here next time, I want to see a completely different scene”.
More than 200 schoolgirls writing WAEC exams in 2014 were abducted by Boko Haram at the school. 219 of them were declared missing, while 57 escaped from their abductees days after the abduction. Of the missing 219 girls, one of them, Amina Ali, was found in May 2016.
In October 2016, 21 of the girls were released by the insurgents through negotiations, while another 82 were freed in May 2017. The Nigerian military at different times rescued two
girls, making about 106 the number of the girls freed, while others remained in captivity with their fate unknown.
Meanwhile, while in Chibok, Governor Zulum sympathised with 83 families affected by Boko Haram attack in Takulashi, a community in Chibok local government area, and directed immediate release of N11million as social protection for them.“What happened in Takulashi is very unfortunate, we share your pains and we all believe that nothing can equal the value of a single life. However, I will present token to support the 83 families affected,” Zulum said.
12 family members of those who lost their lives during the attack received N300,000 each, 53 people whose houses were burnt down received N100,000 each, while families of nine persons also affected
by the terrorists’ attack received N100,000 each. Another five persons who sustained various degree of injuries received N150,000 each while 4 families also received N150,000 each.
Aside social support, Zulum inspected a community water project
in Mboa, about 5km away from Chibok town. The governor also inspected an ongoing Damboa – Chibok road project, where he engaged the site engineers and charged them to ensure qualitative work.
“The road between Damboa and Chibok has been ongoing for quite some time. I am here to supervise ahead of our target for completion by next year, 2021 insha Allah,” Zulum said