Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has urged the Federal Government to declare bandits terrorising parts of the North as wanted terrorists.

Falana, an activist lawyer made the call in a statement released on Sunday in Lagos.

The popular lawyer, who is the Interim Chairman of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) noted that the reluctance of the government to do the needful is against the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

He therefore reminded President Muhammadu Buhari of the decisions of the Senate and the House of Representatives which, in separate sittings, unanimously passed resolutions last weekend requesting the President to declare the bandits as terrorists and proscribe them in accordance with the provisions of the Act, as amended, without any further delay.

The senior lawyer also recalled that the Federal lawmakers also asked President Buhari to declare all known leaders of the bandits wanted and track them down for prosecution.

The lawyer regretted that the Federal Government had ignored the resolutions.

“However, as the Federal Government is not prepared to declare them as terrorists, we call on the media and the Nigerian people to stop referring to terrorists as bandits.

“The dangerous criminal elements who kidnapped the Chibok and Dapchi secondary school girls in the Northeast in 2014 and 2017, respectively, were not referred to as bandits. They were called terrorists by the Federal Government and the media,” he reminded the President.

While expressing worry that the criminals who kill innocent people and abduct scores, including primary school pupils in the Northwest, are called bandits and not terrorists, Falana recalled that “a few weeks ago, the so-called bandits downed a fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

“Curiously, it was reported by the Federal Government and the media that the dastardly act was perpetrated by a gang of bandits”.

“But contrary to such misleading description of terrorists as bandits, the mayhem and violent attacks unleashed on unarmed people and willful destruction of properties by the dangerous criminal elements are classified as acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011, as amended, by the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2013.”

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