6th July, 2011
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on Wednesday faulted the decision of the State Security Service, SSS, not to prosecute the arrested members of the Boko Haram sect for alleged terrorism.
Addressing a press conference to herald plans by the association to hold an international conference on criminal justice reforms in the country, the NBA President, Chief Joseph Daudu said that the decision to prosecute or not lies with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and not the SSS.
The security agency had last Monday told reporters that it had arrested some key cell commanders and members of the sect but that it opted to de-radicalise and win their confidence back to the society.
Daudu pointed out that SSS was not in a position to decide on whom to prosecute, adding that it would amount to usurping the constitutional duties of the AGF for the SSS to start deciding on whom to prosecute or not.
According to him, SSS should only be seen and not heard. He advised agencies and institutions of government to learn to keep to the limit of their duties and stop dabbling into what did not concern them.
The NBA President also expressed concern at the state of insecurity in the country and warned that unless the security challenges in the country were tackled Nigeria would not be able to achieve the objective of becoming one the world 20 biggest economies by the year 2020.
He noted that the security sector of the country is bedevilled with many crises including the inability of security agents to stop crimes before they happened and the inability of courts to dispense with criminal cases within the shortest time possible and argued that unless people who committed crimes were apprehended, tried and punished in accordance with the law, many more would continue to take to crimes.
He pointed out that the bulk of the country’s criminal laws were outdated and could not cater for the security needs of the country at the present time and cited the Penal Code which applied in the north which is more than 100 years old.
ByÂ Nnamdi Felix / Abuja