Nigeria began one of its biggest trials of Boko Haram suspects on Monday in Kano, with a promise to prosecute and not to persecute defendants at the closed-door hearings, said the justice ministry.
A court at a military base in Kainji, in central state of Niger, was told that 1669 suspects await trial at the facility.
All suspects have been arrested and detained since the start of Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency in 2009, which left about 20 000 people dead and forced over 2.6 million out of their homes.
Justice ministry spokesperson Salibu Othman Isah said that the cases would be heard at four courts at the Kainji facility, where the public and the media will be able to cover the story.
Isah said in a statement that Judge Binta Nyako started the proceedings at 13:35 after touring the courts with three other judges, state prosecutors and Legal Aid Council defence lawyers.
“We are here to ensure that nobody is persecuted. We are here for prosecution and so we have come with open minds,’ she was quoted saying.
“We (the judges) have been assigned to these cases and we have no other jobs for now.”
There is no information on whether any of the defendants attended the court case on Monday but they aim to prosecute them for brutal acts.