The Federal Government has declared bandits as terrorists, The PUNCH has learnt.
After weeks of footdragging, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), gazetted a court judgement that ordered the government to declare bandits as terrorists.
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.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on November 25, 2021, had granted an ex parte application by the Federal Government for Yan Bindiga (Hausa word for gunmen) and Yan Ta’adda (Hausa word for terrorists) to be declared as terrorists but the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), did not do so after over a month.
However, the AGF, in an interview on Tuesday, said his office was in the process of gazetting the court judgement, adding that the process would be concluded in a matter of days.
Also, a document released by Malami’s spokesman, Umar Gwandu, on Wednesday, showed 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.”