Governors in the North-East of Nigeria have demanded a transfer of the prosecutorial right of terrorists to state governments.
The governors said the current cumbersome process of prosecuting terrorists, which is the exclusive preserve of the Attorney General of the Federation, requires urgent amendment.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, who spoke at the opening of the meeting of the North East Governors’ Forum in Yola, Adamawa State, said, “As we deliberate on the scourge of terrorism and terror groups within the North East, we need to fashion out ways of facilitating the prosecution of those charged with terrorism activities.
“At the moment, the process is a bit cumbersome as all suspects charged with terrorism and terrorist-related offences have to be transferred to Abuja for prosecution, as only the Attorney-General of the Federation has the statutory powers to prosecute terrorists; according to the provisions of the anti-terrorism law.
“We need to obtain prosecutorial fiat from the Attorney-General to enable us to prosecute those charged with terrorism in our respective states, instead of referring them to Abuja.”
Zulum also said governors in the region needed to take far-reaching measures to ensure incidents of house kidnapping as reported in some states, do not extend to the North-East.
The Borno governor, while acknowledging that the most alarming and worrisome challenge confronting the North-East remained the daunting issue of insecurity with the prolonged Boko Haram crisis, said, “There is however absolute need for us to seriously look into how to stimulate and renew the confidence and trust of our people in the ability of our security forces to contain the palpable threats, being posed by the continued presence of the insurgents.
“This is to ensure that our people are adequately protected and sufficiently guaranteed to open up and go about their normal socio-economic and business activities, without fear of being attacked or kidnapped or even forcefully being recruited by the insurgents.”
Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe states, Yobe and Taraba states were represented at the meeting by their deputies.