Gazette declaring bandits terrorists ready soon, says Malami


The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, says the Federal Government is yet to officially designate bandits as terrorists because the is following international best practices.

He said his office was in the process of gazetting a court judgment that ordered the to declare bandits as terrorists, adding that the process would be concluded in a matter of days.

Malami spoke on Tuesday as a guest on the Nigerian Television Authority’s ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 26, 2021, 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.), has yet to make the declaration.

Speaking on Tuesday, Malami said the acted swiftly in declaring the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Boko Haram sect as terror groups because of the “threats to lives and properties they have caused in the nation.”

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He said, “Government has a responsibility to act but within the context of acting, you are equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement.

“One of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups and individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place.

“With that in mind, Nigeria acted, first by proscribing IPOB, taking into consideration the threats to lives and properties they have caused in the nation. Boko Haram was proscribed.”

The AGF noted that the “good results” arising from outlawing IPOB and Boko Haram buoyed the to consider the proscription of bandits, and the use of military hardware against the marauders.

He said, “Now, we are confronted with another threat in the North-West associated with banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and in all these, these people are using weapons to attack Nigerians, kidnap them and create a situation of serious security challenge and fear in the system.

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“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 and kidnappers come into being.

“Our assessment, taking 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.”

On why his office has not gazetted the court order designating bandits as terrorists, Malami said, “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 and cattle rustlers as terrorists.

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“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.”

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