“There are three factors that are basically responsible for the consistent upsurge in deadly attacks in parts of the North East of Nigeria by the armed boko haram insurgents. The first factor is the continuous releases from detention by the military of boko haram detained terrorists without thorough assessments. The second is the opaque prosecutorial style by the office of the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice which has ended up like a charade and a stage- managed drama in which sizeable percentage of the detained boko haram terrorists are set free even as the trial is done in secret with no representatives of credible non-governmental groups or representatives of the victims present at the trials. The third and most strategic cause of the setbacks in the war on terror is rolled up in two parts which are the secret payments of ransoms to terrorists, release of key commanders as bargaining aspect of the entire package and the failure of government to roll out effective media enlightenment programmes to dissuade people in the North East from being sympathetic to the misguided cause of the terrorists and to dry up the potential recruitment fertile grounds for foot soldiers by the dreaded globally rated terror network of boko haram.”
In a media statement, the prominent Non-governmental and pro-democracy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) through its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf carpeted the Justice Minister Alhaji Abubakar Malami for failing to decisively, efficiently and effectively lead the prosecution of the boko haram terrorists even when these suspected terrorists have unleashed devastating violence that is responsible for the killings of over thirty thousand Nigerians.
The Rights group accused the office of the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice and the offices of state Attorneys General of the affected states of the North East of downplaying the scale of national catastrophic damage done to the soul of the nation by the apparently unending terror attacks by boko haram terrorists.
“Recently, we were told in scattered and incoherent press statements from the Federal Ministry of Justice that government had concluded the prosecution of detained boko haram terrorists somewhere in Niger State but from the same incoherently written but largely deceptive media statements we were told that only few persons got what can be considered a great deal of sentences. There was however no indication of any of these mass killers been sentenced to death for the unprecedented scale of violence and bloodshed that they committed in a horrendous dimension and also, some of these terrorists were let off the hooks due to want of evidence. This is gross irresponsibility and absolutely condemnable.”
HURIWA also criticized the intermittent releases of detained boko haram terrorists by the security forces in the guise of deradicalization when the relevant laws in Nigeria on murder do not have any of such provisions authorizing freedom for persons accused of committing despicable offences. The Rights group accused government of neglecting the thousands of victims who have lost loved ones to the activities of armed terrorists and wondered why those arrested even in the battle fields for fighting on the side of boko haram terrorists are granted pardon whereas their dare devil mass killings are left without bringing decisive justice on them for these despicable crime against humanity.
“This near – treacherous act of setting free persons responsible for the destruction of North East of Nigeria and bombed several parts of Abuja and North West/North Central in whatever guise is treasonable and indeed is directly linked to the upsurge in the attacks by boko haram terrorists that we are witnessing in the North East including the recent kidnap of over 100 school girls in Yobe State.”
HURIWA said many of such releases have happened even as very recently the Nigerian Army handed over 244 repentant Boko Haram insurgents released from detention to Borno Government.
HURIWA recalled that the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, disclosed this while presenting the released detainees to Gov. Kashim Shettima, at the Military Cemetery, Maimalari cantonment, Maiduguri.
HURIWA quoted General Nicholas as saying that the detainees were released as part of activities to commemorate the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day. He disclosed that the detainees comprised 118 males; 56 females; 19 teenagers and 51 children.
HURIWA quoted the General as stating thus: “The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, ordered the release of the repentant Boko Haram detainees and their family members. The detainees have been de-radicalized for reintegration into the society. We are handing over the detainees to Borno Government for administration.”
HURIWA said the handling of these alleged serial mass killers arrested by the armed security forces as part of a ceremonial ritual is absolutely illegal because this action has denied both the Nation State and the hundreds of thousands of victims of boko haram terrorism of the required Constitutional justice because Justice has three sides- for the victims, the State and the alleged offender.
HURIWA has therefore called for an immediate end to this seemingly ‘Father Christmas’ gesture of releasing Mass murderers to the society to reintegrate with relatives of those they murdered. “The Federal government is by these totally thoughtless, irrational, irresponsible and illegal releases of detained terrorists fuelling the resurgence of terror campaign which has led to more devastating mass murders of innocent Nigerians”.