Borno: NBA Threatens To Drag JTF To UN
SAN FRANCISCO, February 11, (THEWILL) – The activities of the Joint military Task Force (JTF) in Borno, Operation Restore Order, may soon be reported to the United Nations going by the threat issued by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Monday.
Describing the activities of the Task Force in Borno State as illegal and unlawful, pointing to detention of many suspects without trial for over a year, NBA noted that in spite of the declaration of ceasefire by the Boko Haram sect, JTF was sabotaging the return of peace to the troubled town of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The NBA threat came only a week after hundreds of women took to the streets of Maiduguri to protest the continued detention of their kiths and kins by JTF.
Chairman of the Maiduguri branch of the NBA, Barrister Hussaini Hala, in a statement, said: "It is disheartening to note that in spite of the ceasefire declared by members of the aggrieved sects, the JTF has continued to perpetrate acts capable of derailing the gradual peace that is returning to the state.
"The Nigerian Bar Association considers the failure to conditionally or unconditionally release or charge to court detainees in the custody of the JTF as unconstitutional, illegal, and an abuse of their fundamental human rights as enshrined by the constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Nigeria is a signatory."
The NBA maintained that since the JTF came to Borno State in 2011, no suspect has been charged to court in spite of the fact that several people were being kept in custody. It insisted that since the Task Force has no constitutional power to prosecute anyone, it should have transferred the detainees to the appropriate prosecuting authority within a reasonable time.
The NBA wondered what makes it difficult for the JTF to institute legal processes against those in its detention when about 400 persons arrested in the eastern part of the country for treasonable offence were taken to court and were subsequently granted bail.
Hala said the NBA has therefore resolved among other things : That all detainees in the custody of theJTf should either be immediately released on bail conditionally or unconditionally or be charged to a court of law having over stayed in the JTF's custody.
That all roads, markets and commercial areas illegally and unlawful blocked or shut down should be reopened forthwith.
That all persons displaced or unlawfully chased away from their houses should be recalled and resettled.
The JTF should stop all forms of extortion on public highways/roads, especially against commercial motor vehicles and tricycles who were compelled to pay before allowed to pass.
He said it was also resolved that the state government in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other donor agencies should see to the resettlement of displaced persons and advised members of the public to remain calm and law abiding.
The NBA however threatened that if the JTF fails to heed to its resolutions within a "reasonable time", it will on behalf of the defenseless people of Borno State approach the Federal High Court, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, seek redress jointly and severally.