Governors in North-East on Thursday said there is a need for a transfer of the prosecutorial right of terrorists to state governments.
The governors said the process of prosecuting terrorists which is solely reserved to the Attorney General of the Federation is cumbersome and needs to be amended.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting of the North East Governors’ Forum in Yola, Adamawa state capital, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum said, “As we deliberate on the scourge of terrorism and terror groups within the North East, we need to fashion out ways of facilitating the prosecution of those charged with terrorism activities.”
He lamented that “at the moment, the process is a bit cumbersome as all suspects charged with terrorism and terrorist-related offenses have to be transferred to Abuja for prosecution, as only the Attorney-General of the Federation has the statutory powers to prosecute terrorists; according to the provisions of the anti-terrorism law.
“We need to obtain prosecutorial fiat from the Attorney-General to enable us to prosecute those charged with terrorism in our respective States, instead of referring them to Abuja.”
He also said governors in the region need to take far-reaching measures to ensure incidences of house kidnapping as reported in some states, do not extend to the North-East.
Zulum, while acknowledging that the most alarming and worrisome challenge confronting the North-East remains the daunting issue of insecurity with the prolonged Boko Haram crisis, said, “There is however absolute need for us to seriously look into how to stimulate and renew the confidence and trust of our people in the ability of our security forces to contain the palpable threats, being posed by the continued presence of the insurgents.
“This is to ensure that our people are adequately protected and sufficiently guaranteed to open up and go about their normal socio-economic and business activities, without fear of being attacked or kidnapped or even forcefully being recruited by the insurgents.”
At the meeting include Governors of Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe states, Yobe and Taraba states governors were represented by their deputies.