Further developments regarding a recent movement of Boko Haram suspects from various court districts where they awaited trial to undisclosed state Prisons in the South-East region. While the motives are still riddled with speculations, a source close to the government confirmed that the “orders came from the Commander-in-Chief.” Repercussions analysis say, may endanger the entire southern Nigeria as terrorist targets, or possibly shift the terrorist invasive targets from the Northern to South Eastern part of the country.
The Buhari’s regime initially denied the transfers until truckloads of prisoners began to arrive at the designated prison units. Authentic sources revealed that the commands at prison departments were not informed about the orders and were surprised when military trucks guarded by stern-looking soldiers backed-up into their facilities to off-load prisoners.
So far, more than a hundred Boko Haram suspects have been moved to undisclosed prison locations. A total of 310 suspects were billed for transfer, and 47 arrived late last week at the Ekwulobia Prisons, Aguata local government area amidst tight security, a local media, Urhobo Today reported. A local activist in Aguata told International Guardian that a meeting of community leaders was being proposed to discuss an appropriate response.
Some villager heads in Anambra state objected the moves, claiming that having Boko Haram suspects in the state would paralyze economic activities in the entire region. “We are still feeling the effects of what the civil war did here, but importing these suspects would intensify our tribulations.”
The Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) Public Relations Officer, Francis Enebore claimed that the transfers were temporary, adding that most of the terror suspects were those awaiting trial in other Northern states. But another Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay quoting reliable sources reported that even some suspects who were captured in some recent Boko Haram attacks were also transferred: a report that contradicted government’s claims of a temporary transfer.
According to This day, the first batch of over 50 Boko Haram Prisoners of War (PoW) were lifted out of Maiduguri Airport to an unknown location on June 21, 2015, while the second batch of over 50 were also transferred on the June 24 by the C-130 military transport plane. In Anambra State, indigenes are pondering on how to address the issue. Campaign for Democracy South-East Chairman, Dede Uzor A. Uzor expressed concerns that indigenes might fall victim of their Boko Haram’s mindless shooting. He called on the people of Anambra state to rise and reject the Policy.
A source close to the government spoke on strict anonymity: “the Commander-in-Chief wants them there, and that’s all I can tell you for now, and please do not quote me.” He further told our correspondent that “I don’t know how long they are going to be there but I can’t see them leaving any soon.”
Ugonna Nwozor, an activist based in Enugu told our correspondent that transferring Boko Haram suspect to the South East would spread the risk of terror and jeopardize peace in the region. “They are sending them there to convert other prisoners as suicide-bombers. Buhari know exactly what he is doing. We just got rid of kidnappers, and now he is bringing Boko – this is unacceptable.” International Guardian also gathered that moving the suspects out of the jurisdiction of the court where they would be tried was a strategy to suspend further prosecution and resume an amnesty process which Buhari initially promised in his campaign. Buhari, it may be recalled had advocated for a sweeping amnesty for the terror group. He however switched his positions in a heated presidential campaign claiming he would ruled out amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents if elected.
Early this month, however, Buhari promised to investigate an Amnesty International report alleging that the military committed war crimes in the war against Boko Haram. “This administration will leave no stone unturned to promote the rule of law and deal with all cases of human rights abuses,” he said in a statement.