A Federal High Court, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, has declared bandits as terrorists.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo declared the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups as acts of terrorism based on an ex parte motion filed by the Federal Government.
Mohammed Abubakar, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who filed the motion ex-parte, said President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the proscription of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups and other terrorist groups in the country.
In its supporting affidavits, the Federal Government said security reports have confirmed that the bandits were responsible for the killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings and related acts of criminality in the north-east, north-central and other parts of the country.
“The activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups and other similar groups constitute acts of terrorism that can lead to a breakdown of public order and safety and is a threat to national security and the corporate existence of Nigeria,” the government said.
Delivering ruling, the judge declared the activities of the “Yan Bindiga group” and the “Yan Ta’adda group” and other similar groups in any part of the country, especially in the north-west and the north-central as “acts of terrorism and illegality”.
The court proscribed the activities of the group as well as other similar groups in any part of Nigeria, “either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called”.
The judge also made an order restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever, in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the Yan Bindiga group and the Yan Ta’adda group under any other name or platform however called or described.
The court asked the federal government to publish the proscription order in the official gazette and two national dailies.
This brings another dimension to the fight against terrorism.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, has repeatedly called on the Federal Government to declare bandits as terrorists.
But Sheik Ahmad Gumi has kicked against it, saying such would worsen the insecurity in the country.
Gumi had called for amnesty for the armed groups.