Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has charged Attorneys-General in the 36 states of the federation to brace up to the challenge of prosecuting criminals arrested in their various jurisdictions, especially terrorists, murderers, kidnappers, among others.
The vice president made the challenge just as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said insecurity in any form in any part of the country, was an affront to the values sworn to defend and future envision for the country.
In a statement released, on Sunday, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Salihu Othman Isah, he quoted Vice President Osinbajo as saying, “This is why it is my charge to you to take up this crucial charge of prosecuting criminals arrested in your jurisdiction especially those arrested with killings, terrorism activities and kidnappings.
According to the statement, Osibanjo spoke in Abuja, during a High Level Dialogue with the State Attorneys General and Stakeholders in the justice sector with the Theme: Law, Justice and Security.
The vice president expressed his desire for criminals to be brought to book and such prosecution publicised to deter others who might want to take to crime to desist from it.
“I think that is right we should make them priority and publicise the prosecutions to deter others who might be minded to go the same despicable way.”
He added that every of the challenge that has been raised requires commitment and dedication to solve the problems and also if there is a desire the problem is half solved.
Osinbajo charged the legal practitioners to maintain professional integrity in ensuring that justice would be done and that it is important that at the end of the day such professionals are left with their conscience and their God.
On his part, Malami, in his speech, said that insecurity in any form, in any part of the country was an affront to the values sworn to defend and future envision for the country.
Malami expatiated on the theme of the dialogue, maintaining that law and security are closely intertwined and should be addressed within the same context.
The AGF noted that it was the law that provides the legal basis for the security architecture of Nigeria through the constitutional duties and obligations to the different tiers of government.
He also firmed up the understanding that law plays a critical role through the enactment of appropriation act to fund the security needs of a country and setting standards of accountability and responsibility through appropriate legal instruments.
“It is the duty of the law to ensure that all anti-social actions have consequences and that those consequences are imposed or enforced on deviants.”
He stressed the evil tendencies of Boko Haram terrorist group, farmers/herdsmen clash in the North, kidnapping, human trafficking among others in the south as the nation approaches another general election in 2019, stating that it is easy to see the hands of corrupt politicians with contrary positions in the present security problems.
The AGF revealed that these corrupt politicians desperately attempt to discredit all the gains made by this administration, for pure political gains, advising that these negative tendencies must be resisted.
He also expressed displeasure with the spate of activities of political exposed persons, pointing out that “the greater danger to our collective survival remains the fact that we are fully out of the grip of these corrupt, privileged class, despite the best intentions and efforts of the Buhari administration.
“On the contrary, we are now confronted with a situation where they are using humongous loot still in their possession, either directly or through proxies, to continuously launch attacks design to subvert critical national and State institutions and processes including undermining the security agencies themselves; compromising the executive instruments of investigations; infiltrating the judiciary whose independence to determine cases judiciously and expeditiously they have attempted to undermine; and ultimately attempting to foist a system of corruption in the country.”
The essence of the meeting, the AGF said, was for both the State Attorneys General and the Chief Law Officer of the Federation and allies to brainstorm on how best to tackle the insecurity situation prevailing in the country in relations to law and justice.
He appealed to the media to report the real security situation while admonishing them to rediscover its historic role and function as a progressive fourth estate of the realm with high level dedication to investigative and factual journalism.
Malami equally pleaded with religious leaders to be in the vanguard of the preaching the need to engage in sober speeches and prudent counsel to arrest the precarious situation.
The Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Mr. Dayo Apata, in his welcome address, noted that the High-Level Dialogue was intended to provide the needed platform for a contextual discourse with a view to developing a communiqué of recommendations and workable solutions to deal with the challenges in accordance with the law.
Apata emphasised that the parley would redefine the crime circle to possible shift from redistributive/penal justice to a more proactive measure which guarantees that criminals will not only be punished but reformed.
Professor of Law, University of Lagos, Akin Oyebode, in his presentation, suggested that the way out of the quagmire is legal responses to vile act against victims of terrorism, saying “First and foremost is the necessity to take expeditious action to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of willful acts bothering ethnic cleansing, mass murder and man’s inhumanity to man.”
He further suggested, “If Nigeria is keen on sustaining its position as a faithful and committed member of the international community, there is no two ways about it. We have to imbibe and comply with international best practices of good governance”.
Oyebode strongly maintained that policies and programmes that lean towards good governance would constitute the panacea to the threat of instability and insecurity facing Nigeria at the present point in time.