Nigeria took another important step in its efforts to fight terrorism in Northeast Nigeria, endorsing an action plan for strengthening its criminal justice response to terrorism in Northeast Nigeria, the region most affected by the terrorist organization, Boko Haram.
The action plan identifies concrete steps to strengthen capacity to effectively screen, investigate, and prosecute, as necessary, persons associated with Boko Haram, in accordance with international standards and good practices. The implementation of this action plan will be supported through technical and capacity building assistance from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) with funding from the European Union.
Commodore YEM Musa, Coordinator of Counter Terrorism Centre at the Nigerian Office of the National Security Advisor, noted that "This action plan is the culmination of Nigeria's efforts to identify challenges and the necessary actions for addressing the terrorism-related criminal justice challenges facing Northeast Nigeria. Nigeria is grateful for the support of UNODC, CTED and the EU in the development of this plan."
As a result of a joint planning mission to the Northeast in September, conducted by officials from the Nigerian Government, UNODC, CTED, EU, and the International Organization on Migration, action recommendations were developed.
The newly adopted "Action Plan on Strengthening Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism in Northeast Nigeria" will support the implementation of a "National Demobilization, Disassociation, Reintegration and Reconciliation (DDRR) Programme", endorsed on 5 December 2017, as well as the "Policy Framework and National Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism", launched by the Nigerian Government in November 2017.
The Action Plan was adopted at a conference, jointly organized by the Office of that National Security Advisor, UNODC, CTED, and the EU, with senior leadership from the most relevant Nigerian criminal justice, security, and humanitarian agencies, from the capital and the three most affected Northeast States. This included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Military, Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Prisons, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria; Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the Nigerian Federal High Court; Court of Appeal and the National Human Rights Commission, amongst others.
This activity was part of the on-going EU-Nigeria-UNODC-CTED partnership project funded by the European Union. The project seeks to support Nigeria to bring terrorists to justice through human rights-compliant criminal justice measures against terrorism. It focuses on strengthening the capacity of Nigerian criminal justice officials to effectively investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate terrorism cases, in accordance with the rule of law and human rights, with the aim of supporting the transition from confession-based to evidence-based prosecution of terrorism cases.