By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has informed that a court order declaring bandits as terrorists will be ready in the coming days.
Malami who made the disclosure while appearing on an NTA programme in Abuja on Tuesday, said the Nigerian Government is trying to ensure that its action on the matter complies with best international best practices.
“The gazetting of a court order or judgement is a process but what matters fundamentally within the context of the international convention is the judicial declaration and that has been obtained; the court has declared bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers as terrorists.
“So, with or without the gazette, what gives effect to such declaration is a judicial pronouncement but the gazette is a mere formality and it has been on and I believe within a matter of days, it will be concluded,” he noted.
The AGF further explained that because of the implication of its action, which allows the Government to apply maximum force on terrorists, it wanted to be sure it operates within the confines of international laws.
“Government has a responsibility to act but within the context of acting, you’re equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement, and one of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place.
“Whatever military hardware you acquire, there are limits within the context of the international convention as to how it can be used, when it can be used, and against who it can be used. And that is how the idea of looking at the activities of the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers come into being.
“Our assessment took into consideration that they are causing a major threat to the territorial peaceful co-existence and causing a major threat to lives with weapons.
“The idea then came about that indeed they (bandits) have satisfied the criteria of being declared terrorists within the context of the law so that whatever military hardware at the disposal of the federal government can best be used against them within the context of the international convention and within the context of the law,” Malami added.
Malami noted that the declaration of bandits as terrorists has cleared the way for “the deployment and usage” of the recently acquired Super Tucano fighter jets against them.