The development was sequel to a ruling of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court which declared proscribed bandit groups as terrorists.
Specifically, Justice Taiwo Taiwo in his ruling held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.
The ruling declaring bandits terrorists followed an ex parte motion the Federal Government filed through the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The motion was moved by the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mohammed Abubakar.
FG had in an affidavit it filed in support of the motion, told the court that intelligence reports affirmed that the bandit groups masterminded several killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings and related acts of criminality in the north-east, north-central and other parts of the country.
It was alleged that the groups were equally responsible for the growing cases of banditry, incessant kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children and other citizens, cattle rustling, enslavement, imprisonment.
As a follow-up to the above ruling, the Federal government on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, released an official gazette proscribing bandits groups operating in the country as terrorist.
The gazette dated November 25, 2021 and signed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), specifically proscribed bandit groups in the North as terrorists.
The gazette which was released on Wednesday stated that henceforth, bandits will be prosecuted under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011.
It reads 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 and Activities of Yan Bindiga Group, Yan Ta`addan Group and other similar groups in Nigeria are declared to be terrorists 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 same Terrorism( Prevention) Act 2011.
It reads 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 November 25, 2021, as per the schedule to this notice, the activities of Yan Binda group, Yan Ta’adda group and other similar group in Nigeria are declared to be terrorist 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.
”This notice shall be cited as the Terrorism(Prevention) prosecution order Notice, 2021.”
Meanwhile, the court has equally “proscribed all other groups in Nigeria by whatever name called with similar objectives as Yan Binda and Yan Ta’adda groups which include but not limited to banditry, kidnapping for ransom, 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, attacks and killings in communities and other commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria.
The court order which proscribed the existence of banditry groups in the country further proscribed any person or group of persons and individuals from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the Yan Binda and Yan Ta’adda groups under any other name or platform however called or described.
(Report, excluding headline contains information from The Sun)