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Adoke Says More Than 40 Boko Haram Members Convicted

Source: pointblanknews.com

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr

Mohammed Adoke, on Monday said that more than 40 Boko Haram members had

been convicted for terrorism-related crimes.
Adoke made this known at the opening of an International seminar on the

Observance of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Internal

Security Operations in Abuja.
The seminar declared opened by President Goodluck Jonathan was cohosted by

the Office Attorney-General and the Office of the National Security

Adviser (NSA).
Adoke said the considerable efforts of government had been made possible

through the prosecution of members of the sect under the Terrorism

Prevention Act, 2011 as amended in 2013.
The attorney-general commended the roles of members of the armed forces

and other law enforcement agencies in containing terrorism and other

related crises in the country.
He said the seminar was to sensitise the participants, particularly

members of the armed forces, to comply with relevant human rights and

international humanitarian laws and norms during internal security

operations.
Adoke noted that the military had been effective in maintaining law and

order and restoring normalcy to many crises areas in the country.

He said the intervention sometimes attracts negative reactions from

affected communities on accounts of loss of lives and alleged use of

excessive force.
Adoke recalled the incidence in Odi, Bayelsa, and Zaki Biam, Benue, both

in 2001, where damages were awarded against Nigeria in billions of Naira

by the International Criminal Court (ICC)
“Allegations of human rights abuses and non-adherence to applicable rules

of engagement leveled against those involved in quelling crises coupled

with adverse reports from human rights advocates have tended to put the

country on the spotlight in the international community.

“The sad events that occurred in Odi in Bayelsa in 2001 and Zaki Biam in

Benue, also in 2001 led to the award of damages against the Federal

Government.
“The court awarded N37 billion against the Federal Government in respect

of Odi incident and N42 billion for the Zaki Biam incident, which was

later negotiated to eight billion naira.
“The unpleasant consequences of the extra-judicial killing of Malam Yusuf

Mohammed, leader of the Boko Haram sect in Borno in 2009, still

reverberate in the polity despite the N100 million compensation that the

courts ordered government to pay to the deceased's family.

“The point being made is that government can ill-afford to bear these huge

financial liabilities in the face of increasing responsibilities and

dwindling resources,'' he said.
Adoke also made reference to the criticism that trailed the deployment of

troops to the trouble North-East states and the Baga incidence in Borno.

He said the civil disturbances in the central, Kaduna, Plateau, the

militancy in the Niger Delta, and the terrorist activities of the Boko

Haram had been under preliminary analysis by the ICC.

“The prosecutor's report of Aug. 5, 2013, established that the Boko Haram

sect was carrying out crimes against humanity as prescribed under Article

7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, particularly murder and persecution.

“The prosecutor has since proceeded to the admissibility stage of

determining whether Nigeria is `willing and able' to prosecute the

perpetrators of these crimes,'' he said
Adoke, therefore, declared that government would continue to take steps

necessary at discharging its primary responsibilities of ensuring the

security and welfare of the people.
He charged members of the armed forces and other security agencies to

ensure that they discharge their duties within the confine of the laws and

norms.
“As Attorney General, I am particularly concerned about the way and manner

members of the armed forces discharge their responsibilities within the

context of our current security challenges.
“I wish to reaffirm government's determination to hold members of the

armed forces as well as other security forces to the highest professional

and ethical standards.
“They must adhere strictly to applicable rules of engagements and eschew

act of impunity.
“I am pleased to observe that relevant human rights and international

humanitarian law norms are mainstreamed in your curriculum and training

manuals.
“I, therefore, wish to caution that any member of the armed forces found

wanting in the observance of applicable rules of engagement during

internal security operations would be held accountable.

“Military authorities should, therefore, ensure their officers and men are

appropriately sensitised to ensure compliance,'' he said.

The attorney general enjoined the military high command to take steps to

further institutionalise the norms of civil engagement in all their

operations to avoid unpleasant consequences. (NAN)