The trial of 5,000 suspected Boko Haram members detained in various prisons across the country are set to face trials as disclosed by the Federal Government.
Aliyu Abubakar, the Director-General of Legal Aid Council, made the disclosure today Wednesday 24th February during a courtesy visit to Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State at the Government House in Maiduguri.
Abubakar noted that the council will provide defence lawyers for the suspects, saying that the date for the commencement of the trial would be announced soon.
He revealed that the trial would be conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Office of the National Security Advisers in collaboration with the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole.
Abubakar said the legal aid team has so far interviewed 283 suspects in order to establish their involvement in terrorism and as well understand the nature of the crime they committed.
He disclosed that the suspects are being detained in Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, Kainji Correctional facilities, and other facilities, over their alleged involvement in the insurgency.
He said: “As their defence counsel, we have to interview them from time to time to enable us 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.”
In his remark, Governor Zulum said his administration is ready to partner with the federal government to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Umar Usman Kadafur, governor Zulum lauded the council for providing legal support to the people of the state while assuring them of the government’s commitment to supporting the council financially.
He also urged the federal government and other stakeholders to adopt a sustainable plan in the Operation Safe Corridor program geared towards the rehabilitation of former insurgents.
Zuoum said the lack of a proper exit sustainability plan in the program has hampered its success.