The federal government of Nigeria has officially released its official gazette proscribing bandit groups in Nigeria as terrorists.
This was contained in volume 108 of the Federal Republic of Nigerian official Gazette titled, Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2021” which was made available to Nairametrics by the S.A to the AGF on media and public relations, Dr Umar Gwandu.
This is coming following a ruling by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in November 2021 which held that the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.
In an ex-parte motion brought before justice Taiwo of the federal high court in October 2021, by the Federal government through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the FG sought the court to declare bandits groups as terrorists among others.
They sought among other reliefs the following;
“An order of this honourable court declaring the activities of the 1st and 2nd respondent and other similar groups in any part of Nigeria especially in the northwest and north-central regions of Nigeria as acts of terrorism and illegality.”
“An order of this honourable court proscribing all other groups in Nigeria by whatever name they are called with similar objective as the first and second respondent which include but not limited to banditry, kidnapping for ramson, kidnapping for marriage, mass abduction 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, attack and killings in communities and other commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria.”
In his ruling, Justice Taiwo declared the groups as terrorist groups and directed that proscription be published in the official gazette of the Federal Government, as well as two national dailies.
In a copy of the court order seen by Nairametrics, the judge granted all the reliefs sought by the federal government of Nigeria and proscribed the bandits terrorist.
What the FG is saying in the gazette
The statement in the gazette reads in part, “Order declaring the activities of Yan Bindiga Group, Yan’Tadda group and other similar groups in any part of Nigerians as terrorism and illegal, proscribing their existence and restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form in the activities of any of the group.
“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 groups 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 this means
In the suit marked: FHC/ ABJ/CS/ 1370/ 2021, while the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the applicant, Yan’Bindiga group is the first respondent and Yan Ta’adda group, the second respondent.
The order granted by the court means that the provisions of the terrorism prevention act will be applied to bandits. The Federal Government will now use full force artillery to combat the groups.
By this order, they have been categorized as enemies of the state and being categorized as terrorists means the option of negotiating with bandits has been ruled out.