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Why We Are Yet To Declare Bandits As Terrorists -FG

Justice Taiwo Taiwo

The Federal Government on Tuesday gave reasons why it has not designat­ed bandits as terrorists.

On November 26, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, granted an ex parte appli­cation by the Federal Government for Yan Bindiga (Hausa word for gunmen) and Yan Ta’adda (Hausa word for terrorists) to be declared as terrorists but the President Muham­madu Buhari’s administration has not done so.

Speaking on NTA’s Good Morning Nigeria Show, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the process would be concluded in a matter of days.

He said his office was in the process of gazetting the court judgment that ordered the gov­ernment to declare bandits as terrorists.

“Government has a respon­sibility to act but within the context of acting, you’re equal­ly expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement, and one of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place,” he said.

“Whatever military hard­ware you acquire, there are limits within the context of the international convention as to how it can be used, when it can be used, and against who it can be used. And that is how the idea of looking at the ac­tivities of the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers come into being.

“Our assessment took into consideration that they are causing a major threat to the territorial peaceful co-exis­tence and causing a major threat to lives with weapons, the idea then came about that indeed they (bandits) have satisfied the criteria of being declared terrorists within the context of the law so that what­ever military hardware at the disposal of the Federal Govern­ment can best be used against them within the context of the international convention and within the context of the law.

“The gazetting of a court order or judgment is a pro­cess but what matters funda­mentally within the context of international convention is the judicial declaration and that has been obtained; the court has declared bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers as terrorists.

“So, with or without the ga­zette, what gives effect to such declaration is a judicial pro­nouncement but the gazette is a mere formality and it has been on and I believe within a matter of days, it will be con­cluded.”

The minister added that the declaration of bandits as ter­rorists has cleared the way for the “deployment and usage” of Super Tucano fighter jets against them.

“One thing I can tell you is any international convention­al demands associated with the usage of the Super Tucano has been obtained which is a judicial pronouncement and declaration of bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers as terrorists,” he said.

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