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Finally, Court Declares Bandits Terrorists, FG to Gazette Ruling


*Malami: Judgement will embolden Nigerian government to crush bandits
Alex Enumah in Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja under trial Justice Taiwo Taiwo has ruled that activities of bandits, as well as other similar groups, by whatever names they are called, in any part of the country, amounted to acts of terrorism and subsequently declared them terrorists.

Justice Taiwo further held that the federal government must publish the order in the official Gazette and two national dailies in the country.

Reacting to the ruling, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said it would now embolden the federal government to go all out to crush all forms of banditry in the country.

The order declaring bandits terrorists was sequel to an application filed on behalf of the federal government by the Director of Public Prosecution, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, regarding the activities of Yan Bindiga, Yan Ta’adda and other groups of bandits in the country.
In the exparte application, the federal government had prayed the court to outlaw the Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups, as well as other terrorist groups in the country.

The request, according to the federal government in a supporting affidavit, was to checkmate the activities of the group, which the government claimed were responsible for killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings, and other criminal acts in the North-east, North-central, and other parts of the country.

The federal government blamed the groups for “banditry, incessant kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children and other citizens, cattle rustling, enslavement, imprisonment, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, and other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities and commuters, and wanton destruction of lives and proper property.”

It went on to say that the Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups, as well as other similar groups, were responsible for the deaths of soldiers, police officers, and other security agents across the country.
Commercial, educational, and farming activities in the North-west and North-central have been disrupted as a result of the groups’ activities, the federal government said.

“The activities of the Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups, as well as other similar groups, constitute acts of terrorism that can lead to a breakdown of public order and safety, as well as a threat to Nigeria’s national security and corporate existence,” the FG said in the supporting affidavit.
The DPP said President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for his action, which objective is the proscription of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups and other terrorist groups in the country.

The Ruling

Specifically, the court declared the activities of the “Yan Bindiga Group” and the “Yan Ta’adda Group,” as well as other similar groups, in any part of the country, particularly in the North-west and North-central geopolitical zones, to be “acts of terrorism and illegality.”

The judge ruled that “similar groups, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called, in any part of Nigeria, particularly in the North-west and North-central geopolitical zones” are terrorists and banned.”

Justice Taiwo said in the light of the nefarious activities of bandits and their effects on the people and the nation’s economy, he was convinced that such orders were required.
He extended the proscription order to all other groups in the country, regardless of their names, whose activities and goals are similar to those of the Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups.

According to the ruling, terror activities “include, but not limited to banditry, kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children and other citizens, cattle rustling, enslavement, imprisonment, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities and commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria.”
The judge held further that the federal government must publish the prosecution order in the official Gazette and two national dailies in the country.

FG Welcomes Ruling

The federal government has welcomed the declaration of Justice Taiwo and said it would go ahead to gazette the proscription order in line with the ruling of the court.
Reacting to the ruling, Malami said it would now embolden the federal government to go all out to crush all forms of banditry in the country.

Malami said the declaration “is a demonstration of this administration’s determination to do things in accordance with the rule of law.”

He adds: “The development is a pointer to the commitment of the federal government to adhere to the international standards in respecting the rules of engagement in the fight against terrorism, separatist organisations, insurgency and banditry in the country.”

He said by this declaration, the Federal Government of Nigeria has taken a bold step to deal ruthlessly with all terrorists groups and their sponsors in efforts to bring lasting solution to the myriad of security challenges in the country.

“The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in collaboration with relevant government agencies, including security operatives are working assiduously to do the needful to take full advantage of this declaration.
“The government will gazette, publish the proscription order,” Malami said.



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