Northern States Governors’ Forum, NGF has issued a two weeks ultimatum to a committee it set up to review the existing Criminal Justice System to date, consistent with the current security challenges and also come up with legally pragmatic and proportionate punishments.
Chairman, 19 Northern Governors Forum and the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima while inaugurating the committee members in Kaduna said the committee is also to look at the condemnable activities of the so called sponsors of the insurgency and come up with legally pragmatic, appropriate and proportionate punishment.
The Committee which is made up of Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of the Northern States, he said, should also focus specifically on parents who because of some pittance, sacrifice their children as suicide bombers saying such parents must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Governor Shettima 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 the 11th of September 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.
“I am delightfully honoured to inaugurate this High Powered Committee of legal experts who, based on your legal standing, professional expertise and profound wealth of experience, were selected to critically examine the Criminal Justice System of Northern Nigeria vis-à-vis the current spate of emerging criminal offences prevalent in the Northern States and determine how best to incorporate them into the Penal Code.
“The Boko Haram insurgency  which  has  been  raging  on  for  the  past  six  years  is  one  of  the  many  se-rious  security  challenges  we  are  experiencing.
It has been generally agreed that one of the root causes of the insurgency was unlicensed and 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. The attendant consequences of the insurgency is the resort to the abduction and conscription of vulnerable and innocent people particularly school children.
The case of the Chibokschool girls has been universally condemned and still fresh in our mind. Although not widely reported in the media, there have been series of abductions of innocent people by the Boko Haram insurgents.
“Similarly, the issue of cattle rustling has been gradually assuming a disturbingly unacceptable dimension which quite often degenerates into the vicious circle of unwarranted mass killings and deadly reprisal attacks.
These are just few examples of the multifarious security challenges we are confronted with and in order to overcome them with appreciable degree of success we need to adopt an effective legislative framework; hence the need for the review of the Criminal Justice System of the Northern States,” he said.
Governor Shettima said that he has no doubts that the days of insurgents are numbered with the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari and the professional commitment of present leadership of the security agencies.
“I must however commend the efforts of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his remarkable achievement in the security sector.
His dogged commitment and unwavering determination to ensure that the insurgency and its concomitant effects were totally eradicated within a specific timeline are beginning to bear quite an appreciable degree of success.
I have no doubt in my mind that Mr. President’s avowed determination coupled with the professional commitment of the present leadership of the Military and other security Agencies and the reinvigorated fighting spirit of the officers and men, the days of the insurgents are numbered,” he said.
Adding that, “As legal experts, you are at liberty to fashion out the appropriate specific Terms of Reference. However to facilitate the process of your work, I should mention the generic guidelines to guide you which include the following:
“A thorough and meticulous review of the Penal Code as it exists with a view to pointing out its weaknesses and constraints in the overall administration of Criminal Justice System in the Northern States.
“Careful analysis of the various emerging security challenges confronting the Northern States and determine how best to incorporate them into the Penal Code for proper and effective administration of justice.
“To make any other recommendations the Committee deems necessary in the course of its assignment.
“As you are all aware, I need not to reiterate that the holistic review of the Criminal Justice System must be consistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended and / or any Act of the National Assembly for the time being in force as any review that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any Act of the National Assembly is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.
“Your assignment is undoubtedly enormous and tasking which requires the dynamic inter-play of your professional competence and tremendous wealth of experience to accomplish. Based on the resolution of the Northern Governors’ Forum, your Committee is given two months from the date of this inauguration to submit its report,” he stated.

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