Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Thursday, queried the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) over the secrecy and mystery surrounding the 400 Bureau de Change operators arrested for terrorism financing about two years ago.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement also kicked against the release of 131 terrorists awaiting trial, saying that the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari continues to display hypocrisy in Nigeria’s terror war.
The group said until justice is done to arrested Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru terrorists, jail breaks and deadly attacks may continue as insurgents will naturally feel emboldened. The group regretted that under the watch of the current government over a dozen brazen jail breaks occurred and over 3, 000 hardened criminals escaped including terrorists who ate going about bombing Churches and killing Reverend Fathers.
Last Thursday, Malami said the Federal Government has prosecuted 1,500 terrorism cases and secured 397 convictions from May 2015 till date.
He also confirmed the recent release of 30 Awaiting Trial Persons (ATPs) from the Keffi Correctional Centre as well as the release of 101 suspected terrorists from the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre “who have spent over 10 years in custody without trial before the Federal High Court in Lagos”.
However, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “397 convictions of terrorists is not equal to 400 terror sponsors whose arrests were nationally announced by the AGF office and the Presidency in 2021. Where are these Bureau de Change operators? Who are they? What courts were the so-called 397 convictions made? These mystery and secrecy are baffling and pointer to complicity by the Federal Government.
“Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu is being tried publicly but nobody knows the identity and the courts that tried the so-called terrorists where the what many in Nigeria may consider a bogus and fallacious 397 convictions were made. If we may ask, is this not covering evil people and evil deeds by this government? What a conspiracy! The government should disclose every detail of those convicted including the prisons they are for verification by all Nigerians or if for the purposes of concealing theur places of detentikn due to fear that their colleaguesat large may stage attacks tk free them, let the government publicise their identities and photos.
“In the last eight years, over 7,000 prisoners have escaped during about 15 jailbreaks all over the country including sentenced Boko Haram terrorists. The most recent one being the attack on Kuje Custodial Centre on July 5, 2022 where scores of insurgents remanded and awaiting trial at the facility are still AWOL!
“But amid rising security challenges, the AGF found it thoughtful to release 131 terrorists awaiting trial. This is preposterous!
“HURIWA demands accountability from President Buhari and his Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola to tell Nigerians how they still sleep knowing fully well that thousands of convicted terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers and murderers were left to escape from prisons. More shamefully is that fact that school girls in Yauri Kebbi State were kidnapped by armed Fulani terrorists and are still being kept in the forest for 19 months.
“So, the government of Buhari has not rescued them and even amidst empty rhetoric and propaganda by the Nigerian Air force that Fulani terrorists are being bombed in the North West, all the kingpins declared wanted are still very much in business including those keeping the school girls since 19 months ago.
“Nigerians are disappointed in the Buhari regime despite his many empty promises. Nigerians must demonstrate their anger in the forthcoming general elections by going to the polls and voting in only credible and responsible leaders.”
January 19, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.