by Akintomiwa Agbaje
500 suspects including a medical doctor have been recommended for trial by the Defence Headquarters yesterday in respect of terrorist operations in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
The DHQ described 614 cases inconclusive and recommended a review of the issues against the suspects.
It also asked the authorities to release 167 others from detention.
The Tribune reports:
Some of those slated for immediate trial include high profile suspects some of whom had been training other terrorists in weapon handling.
Among the suspects for trial are a Medical Doctor and paramilitary or service personnel who had been fighting on the side of the terrorists.
These disclosures are contained in a statement by the Director of Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade in Abuja.
The DHQ said the recommendations are contained in the report of a Joint Investigation Team(JIT) it set up.
It explained that the report has been forwarded to the Presidency through the office of National Security Adviser (NSA).
The NSA was said to be holding consultations with the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke(SAN) on how to go about the trial.
While some of the suspects might face trial in the states where they committed terror-related activities, others may be arraigned before Federal High Court.
The statement said: “The Joint Investigation Team set up by the Defence Headquarters has recommended immediate trial of over 500 persons apprehended in the course of security operations against terrorists in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States.
“The suspects are among the almost 1,400 detainees screened by the team at the detention facilities in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu between July and September.
“Those recommended for immediate trial include high profile suspects some of whom were training other terrorists in weapon handling as well as those who confessed to being trained in Mali and other countries for the purpose of perpetrating terror in Nigeria.
“Also among those recommended for trial are a Medical Doctor, paramilitary or service personnel who were fighting on the side of the terrorists and other individuals who offered direct logistics support to the terrorists.
“The team however recommended the release of 167 of the detainees from detention in Maiduguri, Yola and Damaturu. About 614 others whose cases were inconclusive have been recommended for review.
” The report also proposed that some of the detainees be tried for other offences ranging from armed robbery, murder to drugs related offences.
“If the recommendations of the team sail through, the trial of some of the suspects will be held in the states while others may be tried at the Federal level by High Courts.
“Receiving the reports at the Defence Headquarters, the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim commended the team for being thorough in conducting the assignment.
“He assured them that the recommendations will be treated with dispatch after due consultations with appropriate authorities.
“He said that the military authorities would continue to ensure that due process and highest professional standards were followed in managing the security operations in the states covered by the State of Emergency, adding that DHQ was committed to necessary steps that would ensure justice and fair play.”
Meanwhile the DHQ said it has sent the report to the presidency through the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr. Sambo Dasuki.
The statement added: “The report has since been forwarded to the Presidency through the office of National Security Adviser (NSA).
Meanwhile, the NSA is already in consultation with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on subsequent litigation procedures following consideration of recommendations in the report.
The Defence Headquarters had in July raised a 19-member Joint Investigation Team of senior officers to screen and categorize detainees apprehended in the course of operations in the North East.
The measure which was meant to decongest the detention facilities in the area of operations, was also to ensure that necessary processes were set in motion for expeditious prosecution of culpable suspects in the fight against terror.
The team, which comprised military, police, officials of Federal and State Ministries of Justice as well as Immigration, Prisons and Customs officers, was tasked to examine, classify and recommend appropriate actions against detainees in the various detention centres in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
At least 300 people were displaced in Borno State after a deadly attack at some military formations by suspected Boko Haram militants on Monday, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said yesterday.
Military authorities have confirmed that 24 insurgents died during an exchange of fire between security forces and suspected terrorists in the pre-dawn attack on Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
NEMA spokesperson Abdulkadir Ibrahim said in a statement that 300 people were confirmed internally displaced and emergency relief materials like beds, blankets and mosquito nets have been given to them after the assessment.
The victims had their residential buildings destroyed in the attack, Ibrahim said.
Based in Borno State, the sect had claimed responsibility for several attacks in which more than 1,500 people, including women and children had been killed since 2009 when it launched violent attacks in the North.