By John Ikani
The Nigerian Government has finally designated bandits as terrorists after a court gave the order.
On November 25, a Federal High Court in Abuja declared the activities of all bandit groups in the country as acts of terrorism.
Speaking during a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme on Tuesday, Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), had said the Government is trying to ensure that it operates within the confines of international best practices, adding that the gazette would be ready in a few days.
On Wednesday, Umar Gwandu, Malami’s spokesperson, released a document showing that the AGF office had gazetted the court order.
The document titled, ‘Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2021’ is contained in Volume 108 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.
It read in part, “Notice is hereby given that by the Order of the Federal High Court Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1370/2021 dated 25th November, 2021 as per the schedule to this Notice, the Activities of Yan Bindiga Group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar group in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the North West and North-Central Regions of Nigeria and are proscribed, pursuant to sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.
“Consequently the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the groups referred to in paragraph 1 of this Notice will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and liable to prosecution.”
What you should know
States in the North-West geopolitical zone including Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna have been ravaged by banditry in the last year.
The nefarious activities of the marauders have also spilt into the North Central and other zones in the country.
The bandits have killed hundreds of innocent persons, kidnapped several others including schoolchildren, with some still in their custody, while some are nursing injuries sustained during the attacks.
With the formal declaration of bandits as terrorists, full military operation are expected to be carried out in the North-west and North-central parts of the country against the criminals just like it is being carried out in the North-east against Boko Haram and ISWAP elements which have drastically reduced their activities.