Group slams FG over release of hundreds of Boko Haram terrorists; declares action illegal, unconstitutional

Posted by News Express | 3 October 2016 | 1,770 times

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A pro-democracy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has decried President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of releasing alleged Boko Haram terrorists rather than diligently prosecuting them over crimes against humanity.

HURIWA recalled that on more than two occasions reports have indicated that some detained Boko Haram terrorists were released by the military even as the Nigerian Army recently reported that it has handed over 348 detainees to the Borno Government after they had been cleared of belonging to the Boko Haram terrorists group.

The group said it was not opposed to the release from military detention of innocent people but is of the view that whilst innocent detainees are freed and compensated for the violations of their fundamental human rights the government must inform Nigerians or allow credible independent groups to access information on the accurate number of Boko Haram terror masterminds currently being detained and also publish a time line within which those terrorists would be brought to justice.

Specifically, HURIWA faulted the procedural flaws and credibility problem trailing the continuous release from detention without prosecution of fighters belonging to the armed Boko Haram accused of killing of over 26,000 innocent Nigerians and the destruction of property worth several billions of naira over a period of five years.

The rights group asked: “Why the undue haste to grant amnesty to persons who clearly carried out war against the Nigerian State and indeed bombed thousands of persons out of existence without making effort to prosecute them?”

In a statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf,  HURIWA said history will not forgive the current government if it continues to surreptitiously grant blanket amnesty to terrorists captured from war fronts even as there hasn’t been any determined measures on the part of the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice to bring the masterminds of the multiple attacks on innocent persons to effective prosecution and penalised severely for these series of crimes against humanity. “This disguised release in batches of terrorists is unconstitutional and illegal,” the group said.

The group also accused the government of abandoning the victims of this brutal terror attacks to languish in various Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps just as it lamented that hundreds of thousands of children are malnourished and no concrete measures have been adopted to ameliorate these harsh conditions in the IDP camps in the North East of Nigeria. 

“Why is this government setting Boko Haram detainees free at about the same time that some North East states are resettling the displaced people back to their original homes even without rebuilding and reconstruction of these devastated communities? Have government thought of the possibility of these freed terrorists reaching out to their leadership so as to rearm themselves and to relaunch attacks against civilian populations?

“What kind of government gives premium to releasing detained terrorists without subjecting them to proper criminal justice system to face penalties for their crime against the innocent? We absolutely condemn this atrocious policy of granting amnesty to terrorists under the guise of amnesty when it is clear these are persons who have blood in their hands. If government claims to have processed them before their release, may we then ask government to transparently communicate to the Nigerian public and inform us accurately how many more of such terrorism detainees are awaiting trial or is this government determined not to bring any terrorists to trial?”

•Photo shows Justice Minister Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Source: News Express

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