The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has called for the establishment of special anti-terrorism courts to strengthen the war against terrorism and insurgency in Africa.
This is contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Uche Anichukwu, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ekweremadu, according to the statement, made the call at the ongoing 46th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association African Region Conference holding in Nairobi, Kenya.
He warned that terrorism in Africa was more widespread than was generally recognised.
According to him, terrorist groups can easily mobilise, train, establish and maintain cells and links without the physical obstacles of borders because of information technology penetration in Africa.
He urged African nations to pay attention to judicial reforms as they embarked on reform of legal frameworks and institutions to fight terrorism.
“Our courts and judges are overwhelmed by lawsuits and the wheels of justice grind very slowly in most African countries.
“There is also the issue of the suitability of our conventional courts in terms of security for the trial of such high profile crimes.
“We should consider amending our laws to set up special courts to try terrorism suspects.
“If punishments were to be swiftly meted out to offenders, it would deter prospective terrorists and their sponsors,’’ the statement quoted Ekweremadu aas saying.
He expressed strong belief that besides lawmaking, African parliaments could contribute immensely to the war against terrorism by effectively utilising the powers of oversight, appropriation, approval of certain appointments, and ratification of international treaties.
He added that steps included approval of special measures like State of Emergency and public enlightenment to counter radicalisation and manipulation of religious, political, and ethnic sentiments by terrorists to promote their agenda.
He also called for attention to laws and policies that effectively addressed known factors that helped in breeding and escalating the blight of terrorism.