Defence & Security

Violent crimes threat to Nigeria’s survival, says CJN

By Paul Michael, Defence Editor, Abuja

  • Seeks speedy trial of terrorism, banditry suspects

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Muhammad, has said the increase in violent crimes such as terrorism and banditry poses as a threat to the survival of the country. He said this at the opening ceremony of a workshop for officers at the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.

The level of insecurity in the country not only exposes the polity’s unpreparedness but also hobbles economic development and improvement in the country’s human development.

The CJN further noted that the effect of terrorist-related activities, such as destruction of lives, public infrastructure, private and entrepreneurial investments has continued to project Nigeria as an unsuitable destination for foreign investments.

He said, “My lords, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, we are all living witnesses to the fact that terrorism obscures every aspect of economic, social, cultural and political life, it brings instability and disrupts peace and coexistence in the society.

“In the light of the above, we cannot ignore this threat or wish it away. Preventing domestic terrorism and reducing the factors that fuel it, demand a multifaceted response from the three arms of government.”

While addressing Judges, Justice Muhammad advocated for the need to speedily determine terrorism-related cases, saying that such trial must be fair and based on specific evidence.

“You must ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related criminal cases, including ‘of incitement to’ and ‘recruitment for terrorism’, should be based on specific evidence, guarantee due process and fair trials.

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“To this end, it is the duty of Judicial Officers to ensure these matters are dispensed within line with the rule of law,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his welcome address, Administrator of the NJI, Justice Salisu Abdullahi, said the theme of the workshop, “Law and National Security: The Role of the Judiciary”, sought to reinforce the need for judicial officers and law enforcement agencies to understand the dynamism of the laws on national security.

He said, “My lords, we can all agree that terrorism and other related violent crimes is an aberration and a threat to peace, security and economic prosperity of any nation.

“No doubt, it leads to influx of refugees and a surge in terms of internally displaced persons; it creates instability, restrictions on human rights and indeed, a hindrance to social, economic and political development.

“In the light of the foregoing and without prejudice to the complexity involved in adjudicating matters of national security, I want to urge other stakeholders in the fight against terrorism to be responsive and proactive in order to accelerate and ensure swift trial of suspects within reasonable time.”

Participants at the workshop were judges that were drawn from various Divisions of the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal.

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