Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), has explained why the government cannot name and shame suspected financiers of terrorism yet.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by Umar Gwandu, the AGF said suspected terorrism sponsors can’t be exposed before they are tried and convicted.
The statement reads: “Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the federal government out of sheer respect the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence,”
“It is a product of constitutionalism and the law. It is rooted in the law and the names of the suspects will accordingly be made public at the point of judicial arraignment while the. Trials are judicial processes and not about media sensations.
“Naming and shaming in the Nigerian context must be rooted in constitutionalism. We must strike a balance between constitutional presumption of innocence and evidential proof of reasonable ground for suspicion in making disclosures associated with terrorism funding and financing.
“Where reasonable grounds are established, suspects must be naturally taken to court at which point their identity must be disclosed and the naming becomes apparent. Shaming, on the other hand, is the product of conviction at which point the public is equally judicially put on notice.
“In essence, naming and shaming within the context of Nigerian law are judicial functions which commence with arraignment and terminate with convictions.”
The Minister of Justice added that out of over 1000 Boko Haram case files received by the department of public prosecution, “285 have been filed before the federal high court based on prima facie cases of terrorism against them”.
He further said: “As per as terrorism funding and financing is concerned, we’ve succeeded in identifying those that are responsible for funding and we are blocking the leakages associated with funding and embarking on aggressive investigation that is impacting positively in terms of the fight against terrorism,”
“Investigation is ongoing and for the purpose of investigation, I wouldn’t like to be preemptive in terms of making disclosures that would have the effect of undermining the successes we are recording as far as investigation is concerned.
“But one thing I can tell you for sure is that whatever we do in terms of detention or arrest is indeed backed by judiciary process. We obtained legitimate court orders taking into what we have presented before the court and the court exercised its discretion in terms of granting orders that we can have them in custody, pending the conclusion of investigation.”