Abuja, 22 March 2022 – From 15 to 17 February, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held its first moot court simulation for terrorism offences at a local venue in Abuja. The moot court was organized under the framework of the Project to Strengthen the Capacity of Nigeria to Collect Evidence and More Effectively prosecute Terrorism and Other Serious Crimes with Respect to the Rule of Law, funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). 

Participants at the moot court included judges from the Federal High Court (FHC), investigators from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), prosecutors from the Complex Case Group of Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ-CCG), defense lawyers from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON), and representatives of the National Judicial Institute (NJI). Hon. Justice Taiwo Obayomi Taiwo presided expertly over the Moot Court itself, and Hon. Justice Binta F.M. Nyako graced several discussion sessions with her insightful analysis.

The moot court considered a terrorism-related case scenario that had been developed by UNODC trainers, and which was designed to provide participants with an opportunity to identify potential challenges in current field practices and legal processes related to the investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of terrorism cases, including existing gaps in the collection and exploitation of physical evidence, and the admission of evidence collected for presentation in court.

Reflecting on his experience participating in the moot court, Mr Alilu Kayode, Head of the Complex Case Group, Federal Ministry of Justice, commented that “[this] exercise was an eye opener to the multifaceted nature of terrorism cases and the need for thorough, all-inclusive and collaborative investigations between various law enforcement agencies and the prosecutors with a view to gathering cogent and compelling evidential materials for the purposes of public prosecutions.”

Mr. Fraser Hirst, the UNODC Judicial Expert/Consultant who led the training, added also observed that “the moot court session provided an excellent opportunity to promote and encourage enhanced dialogue and practical understanding amongst the various components of the law enforcement and criminal justice process, and involved the exchange and development of constructive ideas and suggestions for addressing some of the key practical challenges relating to the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of terrorism cases and other serious offences.”