Nigeria Has Adequate Legal Framework To Combat Boko Haram, Counter Violent Extremism- Fg
In spite of the fact that Boko Haram activities have been a pain in the neck of both government and the people of Nigeria, the country have a robust legal regime to effectively tackle cases of terrorism.
Mrs.Nkiruka Jones-Nebo, Head Complex Casework Group, Federal Ministry of Justice who represented the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation stated this at the opening of a two-day conference/workshop for Development of an Action Plan for Demobilization, Disassociation, Reintegration and Reconciliation (DDRR) in Nigeria to bolster Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, held at the Bolton White Hotel, Abuja on Monday.
She backed up her claim that there are sufficient legal framework to tackle the menace of Boko Haram and regulating the offence of terrorism and other related offences in the country by citing references such as: The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the EFCC Act 2004, the Terrorism Preventive Act 2011, and its amendment of 2013, the Boko Haram Proscription Order of May 2013, the Evidence Act 2011 as amended, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015, the Federal High Court Practice Direction of 2013 and its Counterparts in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
She said that it is highly encouraging that there is a political will on the part of government to give a nod to the workshop, noting that there already exists a structure and frame work for DDRR - as developed by the National Security Adviser and signed by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in August, 2017 as well as the establishment of Operation Safe Corridor.
Speaking on the significance of the DDRR, she said “the recent prosecutions at Kainji which registered considerable success is in line with DDRR because prosecution, conviction and sentence will no doubt serve as a deterrence to others.
“It may interest you to note that the recent Kainji Prosecution Project gave rise to a large number of suspects who were discharged upon the application of the Prosecution upon which the court made orders for their reintegration. We may well say that the fruits of this contact will be utilized almost immediately”.
She said that disassociation and reintegration suggests countering violent extremism and must be welcome at this stage of our fight against terrorism.
“It is believed that when this is successfully carried out then there may be no need for arrests and investigations and prosecutions in this regard. There will be a ripple effect of this in the society because security threats will be minimized since the menace will be curbed from the roots”, she added.
She commended the Nigerian Armed Forces who have gallantly stood against these onslaughts by the terror group even at the risk of paying the ultimate price as well as other law enforcement agencies particularly the Police, the Department of State Services and others who have risked their lives investigating the cases involving Boko Haram members.
In his welcome remark, the Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre (CCTC), ONSA, Commodore YEM Musa, said the technical workshop was designed to mainstream and strengthen Nigeria’s implementation of the Policy framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism which was endorsed by President, Muhammadu Buhari on 24th of August 2017 and showcased on the Sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nation’s General Assembly held in New York in September 2017.
While he welcomed the timely intervention of the International Office on Migration ( IOM) for supporting the event and indicating areas for which major intervention could be implemented over the next 12 months, he said “this intervention comes at a point we are focused on recovery in the North East following the degrading of the Boko Haram terrorist Group by our Armed Forces.
“We have recovered communities and pushed back the insurgents to the point of surrender. As part of our multidimensional approaches, we have set up a safe corridor for those defectors who wish to leave. We do this in compliance with Nigerian Law, committed to respecting the rights of victims and bringing perpetrators to justice. Although a slow process, Nigeria is moving closer to full recovery from violence”.
He also said the Presidential Initiative for the North East for 2015-2020 has established a presidential intervention plan to provide emergency assistance and mobilize targeted resources to jump-start the economy of the North- Eastern States of Nigeria.
“In the midst of these economic interventions, we are faced with the need to strengthen coordination of efforts, implement already established policies, build capacity and deliver livelihood to victims of terrorism. This Workshop, therefore, provides stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss and agree on specific activities, which hopefully should contribute to achieving the following objectives as set out in Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action plan for PCVE.
The key objectives of the workshop are to : Institutionalize, mainstream and coordinate PCVE programmes at national, state and local levels; Strengthen accessible justice system and respect for human rights and rule of law; enhance capacity of individuals/communities to prevent and counter violent extremism and recover from violent occurrences; and finally ,institutionalize, mainstream and integrate strategic communication in PCVE programmes at all levels.
In addition, he said the workshop has the specific purpose of developing an Action Plan that will build on the Strategic Implementation Matrix provided in the Policy Framework for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE).
Speaking of expectations, he said “we expect from the discussions and outcome of the Working groups a coherent activity plan with timelines and indicators to determine how we move forward. We encourage discussions around the legal and operational aspects of detention, vetting, prosecution, disassociation, reintegration, and reconciliation, including identification of targeted livelihood support to those most in need so we can come with a concrete, practical and comprehensive Action Plan that will be presented to the High level
The Coordinator appreciated the IOM, national and international experts, and all participants for coming and encouraged them to contribute towards the delivery of the objectives.
The Chief of Mission, the United Nations Migration Agency, IOM, in Nigeria, Enira Krdzalic said IOM recognized the Federal Government’s commitment to rehabilitate and reintegrate surrendered and repentant Boko Haram terrorist members under the Operation Safe Corridor Programme.
She said the initiative requires the partnership of relevant stakeholders towards ensuring the identification, disassociation, rehabilitation, and reintegration, as well as long-term community reconciliation with the repentant Boko Haram members so that they can move back into normal life in the society.
The global body also congratulated the Government for the establishment of different frameworks and initiatives, stressing that “these are evidence that the Nigerian Government is entirely committed in the implementation of this comprehensive approach”.
She disclosed that IOM has already started the implementation of several operational activities in line with its overall DDRR strategy to engage and support Nigeria’s efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate the populations affected by the conflict in the Northeast.
“This strategy is part of a Regional perspective, where IOM support is extended to the governments of Nigeria as well as to those of Niger, Chad and Cameroon”, she said.