How Northern youths reacted to court’s declaration of bandits as terrorists

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Federal High Court judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo’s declaration of bandits terrorising residents majorly in the Northern part of the country as terrorists has excited some Northern youths.

Justice Taiwo delivered the ruling following an ex parte application filed by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed Abubakar moved the application.

Justice Taiwo specifically ruled that the actions of the bandit groups – Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda – constituted acts of terrorism.

In its affidavit filed in support of the motion, the Federal Government argued that intelligent reports available to it indicated that the bandit groups have orchestrated several killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings and related acts of criminality in the north-east, north-central and other parts of the country.

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The Federal Government further told the court that the bandits groups were responsible for the growing cases of banditry, incessant kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children and other citizens, cattle rustling, enslavement, and unlawful imprisonment.

Some other crimes attributed to the groups are severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities and commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria, particularly in the Northwest and Northcentral states 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 affidavit read in part.

Abubakar told the court that having become perturbed by the bandit groups’ activities, President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for their proscription as terrorists groups.

Having hearing the government of the DPP, Justice Taiwo, granted the motions as prayed by declaring the activities of the “Yan Bindiga group, the Yan Ta’adda group and other similar groups in any part of the country, especially in the north-west and the north-central as acts of terrorism and illegality.

The court outlawed the activities of the groups and other similar groups in any part of Nigeria, “either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called.”

It further made an order restraining “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.”

Reaction

In a reaction, the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria hailed the judge for the bold step.

The group’s reaction came in a statement sighed President, Comrade Isah Abubakar and Director General, Media and Publicity, Mock Samuel Kure, in Kaduna.

The statement, which was released shortly after the ruling, lamented that it almost took the Federal Government forever to act on the calls made by various interest groups in the country, including the Northern Youth Council to declare bandits as terrorists.

The group however stated that it is better late than never.

“We will welcome full military operation in Northwestern and North Central parts of the country as it is happening in Northeast against Boko Haram and ISWAP elements which have drastically reduced their activities.

“The Council hereby urged our Armed Forces and other sister security agencies, to arrest and prosecute anybody seen given the terrorists moral support be it materially, morally or otherwise no matter how highly or lowly placed.

“The Northern Youths will stand with you in your quest to stamp out terrorism in the North and Nigeria at large,” the statement read in part.

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