The trial of about 5000 suspected Boko Haram fighters in various detention facilities across the country will commence soon, Aliyu Abubakar, DG, Legal Aid Council, said Tuesday during a courtesy visit to Borno governor Babagana Zulum in Maiduguri.
Many of the suspects have been detained for years without trial in Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, Kainji Correctional facilities, amongst others for their alleged involvement in insurgency.
The report noted that the trail of the suspected jihadist fighters would be carried out via the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation alongside office of the National Security Advisers in synergy with Theatre Command “Operation Lafiya Dole.”
Mr. Abubakar disclosed that his department has been saddled with the responsibility in providing defence for the inmates on commencement of the trial, Daily Trust reported.
He further disclosed that the legal aid team has interrogated 283 suspects as part of its ongoing efforts to proof their alleged involvement in terrorism and to have a clear understanding of the crime they carried out.
“As their defence counsel, 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 crimes they committed, it is possible that out of hundreds, you may find out that one or two persons are innocent.
“It is necessary for them to be represented by this council to make sure that all the requirements of the law are fulfilled. All evidence must be presented against them before the court of the law so that those found guilty would be prosecuted. In as much as everybody is aware of the nature of the crime they have committed, under our laws, they are innocent until proven guilty,” Mr. Abubakar said.
In his remarks, governor Mr. Zulum restated the state’s government efforts in partnering with the federal government to achieve its mandate.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, commended the council for providing legal support to the inhabitants of the state as he pledged to support the council in its quest financially.
The activities of Boko Haram insurgency that has lasted over a decade, has ravaged most communities in the North-East region, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands residents while millions have been displaced from their means of livelihoods. The terrorists have also killed many frontline soldiers and operatives from other security agencies.
However, the security operatives have been able to arrest a good number of the suspected jihadist fighters, detaining them for several years without trial.