19 Northern states Governors on Friday inaugurated a committee to look at the activities of sponsors of Boko Haram with a view to prosecuting them.
The Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, while inaugurating the committee at the Hassan Katsina House in Kaduna, noted that the days of the deadly sect were numbered considering the current bombardment of the insurgents by troops.
He added that with the superior fire power of the troops, the insurgents had been dislodged from their strongholds in the North-East.
He said the committee, which comprised the attorneys-general and commissioners of justice of the 19 Northern states, was given the mandate to review the criminal justice system in the North.
Shettima said the inauguration of the committee became necessary in view of the problems of insurgency, cattle rustling, armed robbery and kidnapping confronting the Northern states.
According to him, the committee has two months to carry out its assignment.
The governor asked the committee to conduct a thorough and meticulous review of the penal code with a view to pointing out its weaknesses and constraints in the overall administration of criminal justice system in the North.
Shettima said, “The committee should also look at the condemnable activities of the sponsors of the insurgency and come up with legally pragmatic, appropriate and proportionate punishment.
“The committee should also focus specifically on parents, who because of some pittance, sacrifice their children as suicide bombers. Such parents must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“The committee also has the mandate to carefully analyse the various emergent security challenges confronting the Northern states and determine how best to incorporate them into the penal code for proper and effective administration of justice.”
The governor, however, cautioned the committee against making recommendations that would conflict with the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
The governor said, “The establishment of this committee is the direct outcome of one of the resolutions of the last meeting of the Northern States Governors’ Forum held here in Kaduna on September 11, 2015 to the effect that most of the criminal offences currently being perpetrated especially in this part of the country like kidnapping, cattle rustling and inciting religious preaching, inter-alia have either not been adequately covered by the penal code or not at all.
“ Therefore it has become a matter of strategic imperative to review the existing criminal justice system in its entirety in order to ensure that it is up to date and consistent with our current situation.
“The Boko Haram insurgency, which has been raging on for the past six years, is one of the many serious security challenges we are experiencing.
“It has been generally agreed that one of the root causes of the insurgency was inciting preaching by the sect which inevitably stoked the violence and culminated in the extremely complicated and unconventional security situation facing this part of the country and in particular the North-East.”