Court declares bandits terrorists

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has on Friday, declared the activities of bandit’s groups as acts of terrorism.

This was the fallout of an exparte application filled by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed Abubakar, seeking to proscribe the grisly activities of ‘bandits’ who have been waging a relentless war against ordinary Nigerians in the North-west and North-central States.

While moving the application on Thursday, Abubakar informed the court that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the proscription of bandits as terrorists.

In his ruling, the judge, Taiwo Taiwo, specifically held that the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups constitute acts of terrorism.

According to court documents, the federal government based its decision on security reports, which confirmed that the bandits were responsible for the “killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings,” in northern Nigeria.

The government further blamed the group 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, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities and on commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria, particularly in the North-west and North-central states in Nigeria being carried out by Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups and other groups associated with or engaged in the same or similar activities as Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda groups 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 said.

In the ruling, the judge declared the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda group” and other similar groups in any part of the country 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 call in its ruling also restrained “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 equally directed the Nigerian government to publish the proscription order in the official gazette and two national newspapers.

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