Livinus Menedi, Yola
Governors of the North East geo-political zone of the country, under the aegis of the North East Governors’ Forum, NEGF, have opposed the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects by the Federal Government.
Voicing out his concern in his opening remarks at the governors’ meeting in Yola, the governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno, said that the lingering crisis over amnesty occasioned by the resultant delays in the criminal prosecution of Boko Haram suspects, firmly placed under the solitary and statutory powers of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute terrorism related offences, which had yet to result in successful prosecution of any suspect years after incarceration, made it necessary for the states to request prosecutorial fiat to prosecute terrorism related offences, instead of referring them to Abuja.
Zulum, who made the call on behalf the NEGF. While attending the third meeting of the Forum, lamented the provisions of anti-terrorism law, which have presently made criminal prosecution of terrorist a “bit cumbersome as all suspect charged with terrorism and terrorist related offence have to be transferred to Abuja for prosecution.”
The governor averred that the development has therefore made it nearly impossible for terrorism related charges to proceed, hence the need to fashion out ways of facilitating the prosecution of those charged with terrorism activities by the states.
He said that the current realities have made it imperative for the affected states to “demand prosecutorial fiat from the Attorney General, to enable us prosecute those charged with terrorism in our respective states, instead of referring them to Abuja.”
He said, “As we deliberate on the scourge of terrorism and terror groups within the North East, we need to fashion out ways of facilitating the prosecution of those charged with terrorism activities. At the moment, the process is a bit cumbersome; as all suspects charged with terrorism and terrorism related offences have to be transferred to Abuja for prosecution, as only the Attorney General of the Federation has the statutory powers to prosecute terrorists; according to the provisions of the anti-terrorism law.
“So, we need to obtain prosecutorial fiat from the Attorney General to enable us prosecute those charged with terrorism in our respective states, instead of referring them to Abuja.”
As the North East governors converge in Yola, Zulum said that security will be the main focus of discussion, among other worrisome challenges of rape, youth unemployment, the Almajiri phenomenon, banditry and kidnappings.
Earlier, the host governor, Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, in his welcome address, said that he was optimistic that the meeting will put the region on the right path to development.
He charged his colleagues to collaborate and together find a common solution that will help empathise the IDP camps in the region and help in resettling the inmates in no distant time.
Apart from the governors of Yobe and Taraba states, who were represented by their deputies, all other governors from the region were in attendance at the meeting.