*Frees 737 Boko Haram suspects
By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Ministry of Justice has said that it has saved the Federal Government the sum of N4.5 trillion through diligent defence of several court cases involving claims against it between 2015 and 2017.
This was contained in the score card of his tenure so far presented by Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday.
Malami said “We presented a score card as to cases both civil, criminal that were prosecuted by the Federal Ministry of Justice and their implications as to savings that were done for the government commencing from 2015 to the present time.
“Fundamentally arising from the cases that were conducted by the Federal ministry of Justice, the ministry has succeeded in saving the government around N4.5 trillion relating to the claims that were presented in respect of these cases that were indeed concluded.”
He also briefed the cabinet on the ongoing prosecution of Boko Haram cases, saying “we presented a position as to the number of cases that were prosecuted, number of convictions that were procured and the number of discharges that were made and then made a presentation as to the road maps for the continuation of the process”.
He revealed that total number of convictions stands at 255 while 737 suspects were discharged after their trials at Kainji.
The minister added that he also made presentations on other cases that had to do with plea bargains, noting that there were lots of pending criminal cases in respect of which the accused persons standing trial made offers for plea bargain.
The Minister also spoke on government efforts to decongest prisons, where over 70 percent of the inmates are awaiting trial.
“There are those awaiting trials that have never seen the court room for over five years and above and indeed there are multiple legislation that are before the national assembly that are intended to support the decongestion of prison formation process”, he disclosed.
Meanwhile, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, who also briefed the press on his activities, presented to the FEC samples of high-nutrient density biscuit developed by the Ministry and proposed for its inclusion in the federal government’s School Feeding Programme.
He said the biscuits will provide at least a third of the desired major macro and micro nutrients requirement stipulated by the World Health organization, Food and Nutrition Board.
Accorsing to him: “the products will be produced by NASCO Foods Limited, Jos that have state-of-the-art processing equipment with vast experience in Food processing, Food Safety and quality for production and supply chain nationwide.
“The developed nutritious products have been tested using Nasco Food processing facilities in Jos and have been found to be technically and economically viable.
“The pupils in the schools in Jos and Lagos where the sensory evaluation and consumer acceptability studies were done showed strong likeness for the products and are ready to consume the products if included in the school feeding program.”
Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, gave a score card for his Ministry, highlighting the special intervention funds released to rescue many distressed Nigerian embassies and missions in several countries of the world.
“First was in 2016 when the Naira was fluctuating terribly and of course the dollars our embassies were receiving were too low to sustain them. We received initially N16.3 billion, and was successfully distributed to all embassies.
“The second one was N933 million for renovations and other debts released in October, 2017. The third was $32 million that were released for critically distressed 65 missions that were in serious debts and crisis. This was approved in November 2017 and we are in the process of distributing to the embassies around the world.
“Another one is $28 million and is in the process of also being distributed and finally for Ministry headquarters, the sum of N7 billion was made”, he stated.
Contracts approved by FEC on yesterday include construction of Ibadan-Kaduna rail line at a cost of $6.7billion for completion in the years; and reconstruction of the 20 year-old Bill Clinton Drive on Abuja Airport Road for N1.9b. The contract was awarded to CCECC for completion in seven months.
A contract of N273 million was also approved for supply of water treatment chemicals to the FCT Water Board.