The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on the Federal Government to remove from military detention, the 475 Boko Haram suspects recently discharged by the Federal High Court in Wawa Cantonment, Niger.
Mr Tony Ojukwu, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, said in a statement issued by the commission’s Head of Media, Fatimah Mohammad, that this was to ensure that their rights were protected in accordance with the law.
According to Ojukwu, there is urgent need to take appropriate steps to remove the discharged persons from military detention facilities to civil facilities pending the beginning of their rehabilitation and de-radicalisation.
He said that as part of the statutory mandate of promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in the country, the commission led a delegation to observe the second phase of the trial of the suspects.
The NHRC boss raised concerns over the continued detention of one Lububata Yakubu, a woman who was ordered by the court to be released and sent to rehabilitation since Oct. 2017.
He also advocated for deployment of modern intelligence gathering and investigation techniques for the Police and other law enforcement agencies in order to ensure evidence-based investigation necessary for conviction.
The acting executive secretary further called for the establishment of family courts with a view to ensuring that justice was served in all cases irrespective of age.
He also noted the need for appropriate measures to be put in place to protect juvenile offenders.
“It is also necessary to secure the attendance of their parents or guardians at such trials in line with the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003.”
He called for a speedy trial of the remaining Boko Haram suspects still in custody in order to ensure that their rights to fair hearing was protected in line with national and international laws.
It may be recalled that on Feb. 18, the office of the Attoorney-General and Minister of Justice in a statement said their detention was based on the information that they belonged to the proscribed terrorist group, Boko Haram.
According to the statement, the Prosecution Counsel could not charge them for any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them.
The suspects were accordingly released.
The court also directed states to provide for the released persons, rehabilitation at any appropriate centre provided by the states before being released to their families.
Those suspects who are mentally deranged or challenged with their health are to be provided medical attention at any appropriate medical or other mental health facilities.
The states were also to provide appropriate training in the manner and for the period that the state deemed appropriate and reasonable.
Among the list of the group released was a pathetic case of a female suspect, Lubabatu Yakubu, who was arrested in 2014 by the officials of the Department of Security Services (DSS) in Numan town, Adamawa, two days after marriage and divorced by her Boko Haram husband.
Lubabatu was accused of her affiliation with Boko Haram husband.
Another suspect, a young mother cuddling her three months old baby, Mariam Mohammed, a Shua Arab from Borno was released.
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