Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, says cross-border cooperation remains the most effective tool to efficiently fight terrorism.
Malami spoke on Monday in Abuja at the opening of a three-day regional workshop on: “Prison Intelligence in a Counter-terrorism Context”.
The workshop was organised by the ministry in partnership with the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law and the United States.
The minister who was represented by Umar Mohammed, Director, Public Prosecution of the Federation, said that cross-border cooperation would better equip law enforcement and prison officers in Africa to fight the menace.
He said: “As 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.
“No country can claim to be immune, it is our collective responsibility to put our skills to best use in combatting this menace as nothing justifies terrorism, and we must all work jointly to eradicate it from our society.”
According to him, it is now globally acknowledged that terrorism has become an unprecedented threat to international peace, security and development, and this is why the ministry is partnering the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law.
He expressed optimism that the workshop would enable participants from different African countries to share experiences, develop a systematic and sustainable framework in the management of prison intelligence.
He further noted that as part of Nigeria’s efforts to fight terrorism, the ministry had set up a unit in the Department of Public Prosecution known as the “Complex Case Group”.
He said that the unit had specialist prosecutors who recently concluded over 1,000 counter-terrorism cases and secured over 300 convictions.
In his opening remarks, Thomas Wuchte, the Executive Secretary of IIJ, noted that the workshop was a follow up to an earlier one held in July in Malta that looked at prison de-radicalistion.
According to him, the objective of the workshop is to elucidate the importance of setting up an effective prison intelligence system in preventing or detecting radicalisation to violence within the prison.
Wuchte said: “Experts will provide guidance on best practices for the establishment of a modest intelligence system, including gathering, analysing and disseminating intelligence, interagency intelligence sharing, joint operational planning and tactical operations in prisons.
“Furthermore, participants will have an opportunity to discuss the specific legal, social, financial and political issues, regarding the development and implementation of prison intelligence programmes in common law and civil law in countries in Africa.”
He also said that participants were expected to share experiences, learn how colleagues were addressing prison radicalisation and facilitate professional contacts to continue to exchange ideas and information.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants at the workshop were drawn from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Tanzania, Benin Republic, Kenya, Cameroon and the host, Nigeria.