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Govt Declares Bandits as Terrorists; AGF Gazettes Court Order

The federal government has declared bandits as terrorists in the country. This development came after Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled on the motion filed by the government that bandits be labelled as terrorists – and treated as such. Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), also gazetted the order.

Justice Taiwo ruled on November 25, 2021 that the Yan Bindiga (Hausa word for gunmen) and Yan Ta’adda (Hausa word for terrorists) be declared terrorists. But the government did not do so until Wednesday when the Office of the Attorney General revealed that this has been done and gazetted as “Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2021” in Volume 108 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.

Part of the gazetted order reads that anyone involved in the activities of bandits across Nigeria will be deemed a terrorist and liable to prosecution.

“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,” the order reads.

“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,” it added.

Thousands of people have either lost their lives or kidnapped by bandits since banditry began in the country nearly 10 years ago. Hundreds of schoolchildren have been kidnapped, scores killed in village rampages, and thousands displaced by the marauding invaders in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna and parts of the North Central. Despite intensified military incursions and bombings, the terrorists have not been brought to their knees yet.