HURIWA To Tinubu: Bandits of North West Were Declared Terrorists Legally Since November 2021

HURIWA To Tinubu: Bandits of North West Were Declared Terrorists Legally Since November 2021

The declaration last month by President Bola Tinubu that individuals involved in despicable crimes such as kidnapping must be treated as terrorists, shows that the current government has not fully implemented the legal declaration of North West Armed bandits as terrorists by the Federal High court since the last administration which was also gazetted by the then federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice under former President Muhammadu Buhari around January 2022.

HURIWA said the public declaration of intent by the President to treat Kidnappers of school children as terrorists shows the inconsistency in the continuation of the war on terror passed on from the last administration and this shouldn’t be this way since government is a continuum meaning that successive administrations must implement lawful decisions of courts even if they were issued before the advent of the government of the moment.

HURIWA therefore expressed shock that ironically, the current President made the declaration to treat Kidnappers of school children as terrorists on Tuesday last week at a Ramadan dinner with members of the Federal judiciary led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

Reiterating the government’s resolve to defeat banditry, the President said those who resort to kidnapping children are cowards, incapable of confronting the might of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

HURIWA recalled that President Tinubu said: “We must treat kidnappers as terrorists,” the President said, according to a statement by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

“They are cowardly. They have been degraded. They look for soft targets. They go to schools and kidnap children and cause disaffection. We must treat them equally as terrorists in order to get rid of them, and I promise you we will get rid of them.”

HURIWA however reminded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that as far back as January 2022 it was made clear in a a newspaper reportage of the public Gazette that after weeks of footdragging, the then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), gazetted a court judgement that ordered the government to declare bandits as terrorists.

HURIWA recalled that most of the states in the North-West geopolitical zone including Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna have been ravaged by banditry. The nefarious activities of the marauders have also spilt into the North Central and other zones in the country. The bandits have killed hundreds of innocent persons, kidnapped several others including schoolchildren, with some still in their custody, while some are nursing injuries sustained during the attacks.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on November 25, 2021, had 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 regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), did not do so after over a month.

However, the AGF, in an interview on Tuesday, said his office was in the process of gazetting the court judgement, adding that the process would be concluded in a matter of days.

Also, a document released by Malami’s spokesman, Umar Gwandu, on Wednesday, showed that the AGF office had gazetted the court order.

The document titled, ‘Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Order Notice, 2021’ is contained in Volume 108 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.

It read 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, the Activities of Yan Bindiga Group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar group 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.

“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.”

HURIWA in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, therefore stated that: “We wish to remind His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that his threat to treat Kidnappers as terrorists is not so much a new idea. The President should have known based on transition documents that his immediate past predecessor under whose administration Armed banditry and armed herders carried out multiple bloody attacks across Nigeria, had legally gazetted a court’s order which declared these bandits in the North West as terrorists”. 

HURIWA said too that: “We expect that this government doesn’t have to make fresh threat to treat Kidnappers as terrorists because there is a binding order of a federal High Court which had since declared the bandits responsible for a spate of violent mass abductions of school children as terrorists.  Let the armed forces be properly instructed to treat these terrorists as such and effectively decapitate and degrade their capacity for violence targeted against soft targets such as school children. HURIWA is hereby pleading for consistency by the government in the war on terror and for terrorists to be treated as such and not seen as agitators who have any rightful claims to a negotiated settlement. Terrorists are the same persons that have carried out several daring invasions of public schools and engaged in mass abductions of school children and demanded ransom.”

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