The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday declared the activities of bandits’ groups as acts of terrorism.
The verdict strengthens the call on the federal government to declare bandits ravaging the North-western and the North-central regions as terrorists.
Mohammed Abubakar, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Federation, had filed an ex-parte application 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.
The bandits have been vicious in kidnapping and killing their captives across Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue and Sokoto states.
While moving the application on Thursday, Mr 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.”
In its ruling, the court 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.”
Mr Taiwo equally directed the Nigerian government to publish the proscription order in the official gazette and two national newspapers.
PREMIUM TIMES reported on Thursday how bandits asked the family of an abducted police officer to pay a N200 million ransom for his quick release because they have to leave telecommunications service area.
The police personnel, Sambo Hosea, was kidnapped alongside many other travellers on Sunday on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
He was the police orderly to Sagir Hamida, a former governorship aspirant in Zamfara State who was killed by the bandits in the incident.
The bandits subsequently demanded the N200 million ransom from Mr Hosea’s family.
In a telephone interview with the family on Wednesday, the outlaws said they were leaving the location where they could access service and urged for timely payment of the ransom.
When tthe relatives of the abducted police officer responded that they had raised N2 million, the kidnappers gave them six hours to hand over the amount they demanded.
An assistant to the deceased politician, Ibrahim Musa, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES.
This is only one of many cases Nigerians battle with daily.
Parts of North-western states of Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto, have had telecommunications networks shut down due to intractable attacks by rampaging bandits.
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