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Experts hail declaration of bandits as terrorists

By Bridget Onochie, Adamu Abuh, Odita Sunday, Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja) and Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna)
28 November 2021   |   4:11 am
Security experts have hailed the declaration that “bandits are nothing else, but terrorists,” by the court in Abuja.

Bandits. Photo: BBC

• Can Make Them To Upgrade — DIG Lakanu
• Pronouncement Belated — Efoziem
• It’s A Nomenclature For Political Expediency — Gumi

Security experts have hailed the declaration that “bandits are nothing else, but terrorists,” by the court in Abuja.

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, declared bandit groups as terrorists.

Specifically, the court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups constituted acts of terrorism in the country.

Some security experts, who hailed the pronouncement, lamented that it was belated.

A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Taiwo Frederick Lakanu, said: “Terrorist is a generic term for those, who react with high velocity violence during criminal action. The court is in order.

“The approach is likely to be the same and format in use with attacks on Boko Haram. My fear is the pronouncements could make them to upgrade and declare allegiance with existing Islamic notorious groups.”

Also, the Managing Director of Strict Guard Security, Dr. Bone Chinye Efoziem, said: “The pronouncement gives definite combat approvals to security forces and a clear direction for international intelligence and security community in support against them. The pronouncement will make both positive and negative impacts.”

Meanwhile, a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has said the Federal Government’s decision to declare bandits as terrorists is for “political expediency.”

“The Federal Government has succumbed to media blackmail by a section of the country. It will not have any practical value because even before the declaration, they were being fought and treated as terrorists.”

A statement issued by his Media Consultant, Malam Tukur Mamu, said: “It’s just a nomenclature, which I believe, will not change the dynamics on ground…”

Another security analyst, Christopher Oji said: “Pronouncing bandits as terrorists is a welcome development, even though doing it has long been overdue. It is going to make a huge difference.

“They are not agitating for anything, rather than to kill, destroy and rob people. Bandits come in 50’s and their attack is always devastating.

They leave traces of blood, tears and sorrow. They kill, rape, maim and can totally exterminate entire community. They are presently contributing to food scarcity, as farmers are taxed before they can either plant or harvest their farm produce. This is causing serious food scarcity.

Another analyst, Bolaji Ogunmola, said: “Sadly, the Presidency woke up to its responsibilities, when it was late already, after Fulani herdsmen had been declared the fourth deadliest terrorist group by the international community. The approach to fighting them would change. Now, we are fighting terrorists and not brotherly enemies…”

Reacting to a statement issued, on Friday, by Gumi, a human rights activist and National President, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, condemned him for what he described as another semantic blunder, by comparing the pure criminality of terrorists with and activities of the Europe registered Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

Also, human rights activist, Festus Oguche , demanded Gumi’s arrest over his support for bandits in the country.

Oguche, a Port Harcourt-based expert on International Law, said: “I commend the government in giving these terrorists the label they deserve.

It’s been long overdue, as there had been so much cry for this labelling, so as to bring them within the purview under international law and to accentuate the move by domestic security agents to crush them…”

Another, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, said President Muhammadu Buhari has no option than to go ahead to gazette the proscription order by the court declaring bandits as terrorists.

He said: “Gumi should be arrested. Under the Terrorism Prevention Act, associating with a prescribed organisation is a criminal offence. Since Gumi is seen associating with these criminals, he should also be arrested and prosecuted. That is what the law says. The president does not have an option than to obey the court ruling…”