Nigeria Votes N500m To Prosecute Boko Haram

 

The federal government has voted N500 million for the prosecution of Boko Haram cases and other criminal suspects in the year 2022.

Over 10,000 suspects are projected to be prosecuted with the money, according to the breakdown of the federal ministry of justice’s approved 2022 budget.

Described as a “new” project in the budget, the allocation is to be expended on fresh Boko Haram and other criminal cases filed in court by the ministry.

The federal ministry of justice has a mass trial arrangement with the Federal High Court that enables judges to be deployed to try terrorist suspects at the various military detention facilities holding the suspects in different parts of the country.

Under the arrangement, the logistical challenges of moving a large number of terror suspects to face trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja or other divisions of the court, is conquered, but there have been local and international concerns about the fairness and thoroughness of the process.

Three phases of the mass trial have been held so far.

The new N500million provision voted for the prosecution of Boko Haram suspects and other criminal cases is different from the over N300million voted for the prosecution of other “ongoing” cases, some of which are also Boko Haram-related.

The “ongoing” cases tagged as ‘Prosecution of prison inmates, maritime/offshore offences, Boko Haram suspects, offenders of government recovered assets, and improving asset recovery and monitoring process’ is to gulp a total of N308,647,164, the budget stated.

Representing about 2.95 per cent of the total N17 billion budget of the ministry, the prosecution of the new Boko Haram cases is the project with the third-largest allocation among the 12 projects listed in the ministry’s 2022 budget.

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It comes directly behind ‘Establishment of a Federal Taskforce and Development of a Federal Contracts Administration System (FCAS) in Nigeria’, with N821million allocation.

The project with the highest allocation, tagged as ‘Intervention fund to support the FGN’s Reform Initiatives at the Disposal of Terrorism Cases, prison reforms and decongestion programme as well as the activation on the national cyber security coordination centre to support ongoing reform,’ is billed to gulp N5billion.

Nigeria contends with years-long accumulated terrorism cases with thousands of suspects held in military detention facilities in different parts of the country awaiting trial.

Amnesty International had serially reported deaths of Boko Haram suspects in military detention facilities, as they swell in number over the years without trial.

In December 2020, the human rights organisation claimed that over 10,000 detainees had died in detention since 2011, a charge the Nigerian Army denied.

Source: Premium Times/Elanza News

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