The Nigerian government has officially published in its gazette the declaration of two bandits’ groups operating in the North-western region of the country and other related organisations, as terrorists.
This development is following a ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja in November, ordering the federal government to declare the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups as acts of terrorism.
The court ordered the federal government to give effect to the declaration by publishing it in its public gazette.
Umar Gwandu, the spokesperson for the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, shared a copy of the official gazette with journalists on Wednesday.
Other related groups are also declared by terrorists, by virtue of the publication.
In a notice of proscription order as contained in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette dated November 29, 2021, volume 108, “The activities of Yan Bindiga Group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar groups 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.”
Concerning liability for participation in the proscribed groups’ activities, the gazette 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.”
In an explanatory note attached to the foot of the gazette, the AGF said, “This notice is to inform the general public of the proscription order proscribing Yan Bindiga Group, Yan Ta’adda group and other similar groups in Nigeria pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.”
The federal government had premised its decision to declare bandits as terrorists 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 had said.
Recently, this paper reported the agony of the family of an abducted police officer, who was asked by bandits to pay N200 million ransom for his quick release.
The bandits had threatened to kill Sambo Hosea, the kidnapped cop, should his family fail to meet their deadline because they had to leave the telecommunications service area.
Mr Hosea was kidnapped alongside many other travellers on Sunday on the notorious 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.
In a telephone interview with the family, the outlaws warned they were leaving the location where they could access service and urged for timely payment of the ransom.
When the 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.
Mr Hosea’s plight 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.
Though telecommunications networks have been restored in some parts of Kaduna and Zamfara states, some communities in Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari’s country home remains disconnected from mobile telephony due to persistent attacks on residents.
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