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FG to begin trial of 5,000 arrested Boko Haram suspects

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The Nigerian government has said it will soon begin the trials of detained Boko Haram suspects, totalling 5,000.

The Director General of Legal Aid Council, Aliyu Abubakar, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, at the Government House, Maiduguri.

The defendants have all been arrested and detained since the start of the Islamist insurgency in the country’s northeast in 2009.

Abubakar said the inmates are being detained at Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, Kainji Correctional facilities, among others over their alleged involvement in the activities of the Boko Haram.

He added that the trial would be conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Office of the National Security Advisers in collaboration with the Theatre Command Operation, Lafiya Dole, while the Legal Aid Council was mandated to provide defence for the inmates during the hearing of the case.

“As their defence council, we have to interview them from time to time to enable us to know their own part of the story.

“It so because regardless of the generous crimes they committed, it is possible that out of hundreds, you may find out that one or two persons were innocent of the charges that they are being detained for,” he said.

“It was necessary for them to be represented by council to make sure that the official fulfill all the requirement of the provisions of the law.

“All evidence must be presented against them before the court of law so that those that are found guilty are prosecuted and made to face the consequences of their action.

“Inasmuch as everybody is aware of the nature of the crime they have committed, under our laws, they are innocent until proven guilty.”

In his remarks, Governor Babagana Zulum said the government was ready to partner with the Nigerian government to enable it achieve its mandate.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Zulum lauded the council for providing legal support to the people of the state while assuring them of the government’s commitment towards supporting the activities of the council financially.