The Federal High Court in Abuja has declared bandit groups as terrorists. In a ruling delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on Friday, the court specifically held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.
The ruling followed an ex parte motion the Federal Government filed through the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The verdict strengthens the call on the federal government to declare bandits ravaging the North-western and the North-central regions as terrorists.
The FG had in an affidavit it filed in support of the motion, told the court that intelligence reports affirmed that the bandit groups masterminded several killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings, and related acts of criminality in the north-east, north-central, and other parts of the country.
It alleged that the groups were equally 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, imprisonment, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities, particularly in the Northwest and Northcentral states in Nigeria.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Abubakar, told the court that perturbed by the actions of the bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for their proscription as a terrorist group.
Justice Taiwo accordingly 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 further outlawed the activities of the groups and other similar groups in any part of Nigeria.
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”.
Justice Taiwo further ordered the FG to publish the proscription order in the official gazette as well as in two national dailies.