By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, ABUJA
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has declared proscribed bandit groups as terrorists.
Specifically, the court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, 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 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.
Other crimes were severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities and commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria, particularly in the Northwest and Northcentral states in Nigeria.
“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 added.
The DPP, Abubakar, told the court that perturbed by actions of the bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for their proscription as terrorists groups.
After he had listened to the government lawyer, Justice Taiwo, accordingly granted the motions as prayed by declaring the activities of the “Yan Bindiga group, 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 outlawed the activities of the groups and other similar groups in any part of Nigeria, “either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called.”
It further 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.”
Justice Taiwo ordered FG to publish the proscription order in the official gazette as well as in two national dailies.