After a lengthy wait to tag bandits terrorists, the Federal Government has bestowed the title upon them.
A declaration titled, ‘Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2021 is contained in volume 108 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.
Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the media aide to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, reads: “Notice is hereby given that by the order of the Federal High Court Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1370/2021 dated November 25, 2021, as per the schedule to this Notice, the activities of Yan Bindiga (a Hausa word for gunmen) group, Yan Ta’adda (Hausa word for terrorists) group and other similar groups in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the northwest and North Central regions 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 group referred to in paragraph 1 of this Notice will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and liable to prosecution.”
This comes after more than a month since a Federal High Court in Abuja declared bandits as terrorists following an ex parte motion the Federal Government filed through the Ministry of Justice.
The government has previously approached the court to declare bandits as terrorists after pressure and calls from citizens; designating them as terrorists would enable security operatives to swing into action and attack them quickly.
In its ex parte motion, the Federal Government informed the Federal High Court that reports show that bandits organized several killings, abductions, and other crimes in the Northeastern and North Central part of the country.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo ruling on the motion in November, declared bandits as terrorists. He also ordered the Federal Government to publish the proscription in the official gazette and two other national newspapers.