Alex Enumah in Abuja
Nigeria on Monday made a case for effective collaboration across borders in the African region if the region must record remarkable victory in its fight against terrorism.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), made the remarks in Abuja, while declaring open a three-day regional workshop on â€˜Prison Intelligence in a Counterterrorism Context.â€™
The workshop which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice in partnership with the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, (IIJ), and the United States attracted participants from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Tanzania, Benin Republic, Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria.
According to Malami, who was represented by the Director, Public Prosecution of the Federation, Umar Mohammed, cross-border cooperation would better equip law enforcement and prison officers in Africa to fight the menace of terrorism.
He said: â€œAs you are all aware, terrorism has unfortunately been with us in various forms across the continent. The scale of terrorists incursion is constantly metamorphosing at an alarming and despicable rate.
â€œNo country can claim to be immune, it is our collective responsibility to put our skills to best use in combating this menace as nothing justifies terrorism and we must all work jointly to eradicate it from our societyâ€.
He said it was now globally acknowledged that terrorism today has assumed an unprecedented threat to international peace, security and development, hence the need for collaboration with international agencies and governments.
â€œThis workshop would enable participants from the different African countries to share experiences, develop a systematic and sustainable framework in the management of prison intelligence,â€ he said.
According to him, the ministry in a bid to curtail the menace, established a unit in the Department of Public Prosecution known as the â€œComplex Case Group.â€
He said that the unit had specialist prosecutors who had recently concluded over 1,000 counterterrorism cases and secured over 300 convictions.
Earlier, Executive Secretary of the IIJ, Thomas Wuchte, said the objective of the workshop was to highlight the importance of setting up an effective prison intelligence system in preventing or detecting radicalisation to violence within the prison.
â€œExperts will provide guidance on best practices for the establishment of a modest intelligence system including gathering, analysing and disseminating intelligence; inter-agency intelligence sharing, joint operational planning and tactical operations in prisons.
â€œFurthermore, participants will have an opportunity to discuss the specific legal, social, financial and political issues regarding the development and implementation of prison intelligence programs in common law and civil law in countries in Africa.â€
He also said participants were expected to share experiences, learn how colleagues were addressing prison radicalisation and facilitate professional contacts to continue to exchange ideas and information.