News

June 22, 2024

Why only 300 of 50,000 hardcore terrorists arrested by military prosecuted – DG, NARC

Prison congestion: FG urged to resolve minor cases, decongest prisons

**Advocates for Stronger Judiciary to Curb Terrorism

By: Kingsley Omonobi

Against the backdrop that statistics and records from intelligence agencies show that over 50,000 hardened and hardcore Boko Haram terrorists have been arrested by the Nigerian Army and other security agencies and only about a paltry 300 of them have been prosecuted, the Director General of the Nigeria Army Resource Centre, Major General Garba Wahab (rtd) has said that the judiciary arm of the government needs to do more if insecurity is to be eradicated in Nigeria.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent Nigerians have been killed, abducted, raped and forcefully enslaved while houses, properties and government facilities were destroyed by these terrorists leading to millions displaced and in IDP camps but when the terrorists are arrested, little or nothing happens to them.

But speaking during a two-day round table discussion in Abuja at the weekend with the theme “Asymmetrical National Security Challenges, the Army, and National Development”, Gen Wahab disclosed that the judiciary must up its ante and perform its sacred role of dishing out deserved purnishment to terrorists to deter impunity.

His words, “One of the ways to curb insecurity is that the judiciary must be alive to its responsibilities and the local government authorities should be allowed to function.

“It is regrettable that in a Nigerian court, it will take 20 years for a case to be adjudicated upon and persons who have commited clear and glaring offences to be get just purnishment. That’s what is happening. A former president mentioned it saying It takes 10 years for a simple case of stealing to be decided in Nigeria.”

Wahab insisted that the local governments administration should be allowed to function well in the country pointing out that the localization of security in the country would also help in curbing some crimes.

“What we are asking those in government to do is to find a way of ensuring that the judiciary and local government are allowed to function well. When you allow local government to function, then you can localize the security architecture.

“In so doing, insecurity issues will be addressed at the battalion level We should go to the battalion level because these battalions serve the state and so they relate with the state and local government. We shouldn’t wait till we get to divisional headquarters whenever there is a problem. Divisional headquarters in most cases are busy attending to five or six States.

Gen Wahab also called on the political class to avoid a situation where security agencies will feel that criminal elements receive protection even in instances where personnel are killed or injured through ambushes and other attacks thereby demoralizing the commitments of personnel in operations.

In his remarks, the Executive Director, Defence Space Agency, Prof. Okey Ikechukwu, said the round table seeks to drive a new narrative by getting various segments of Nigeria’s public to see and understand their roles in the wider national ecosystem of synchronized security.

He said, “We will use the round table to re-emphasise the specific and general roles of the military, particularly the Nigerian army, in the cocktail of structures, activities, and processes that constitute the national security architecture”.

He recalled that in April 2024, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, directed field commanders and troops to be adaptive and embrace innovation to ensure adversaries of the country are brought to their knees.

Lagbaja had noted that that the nation was in a more volatile and complex period than before and tasked Commanders to be innovative.

He also charged them to restore peace and stability in areas experiencing security challenges across the nation

The round table brought together, senior serving and retired military personnel, the media, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations among other stakeholders in the country