Following the order to declare bandits as terrorists, it has been reported that the Federal Government has failed to officially designate bandits as terrorists three weeks after a Federal High Court ordered the government to do so.
It has been reported that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has yet to gazette the order as ordered by the court, thereby failing to give life to the order.
Earlier reports disclosed that the Federal Government has ceased to effect the same order as in the case of the Indigenous People of Biafra, who the AGF was able to gazette as terrorists on the same day that Justice Abdu Kafarati gave the order on September 20, 2017.
According to a document reportedly signed by the AGF titled, ‘Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice, 2017’ is contained in Volume 104 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette, “The gazette, with commencement date of September 20, 2017, read in part, “Notice is hereby given that by the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/871/2017, dated September 20, 2017 as per the schedule to this notice, the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria as proscribed, pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention)Act, 2011 (as mended).”
However, in an interview, human rights lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), has stated that, “Until there is an official gazette properly issued by the Federal Government, you cannot declare any organisation a terrorist group.”
He noted that, “I believe the Minister of Justice would show good faith because when you compare the manner at which IPOB was declared as a terrorist group and was gazetted, it is not as cumbersome as what we are witnessing.”
He maintained that, “He (AGF) should act so that the people would not begin to read meaning into the actions of the government. We need to treat everybody with universal and equal application of law so that we do not begin to accuse the government of having preference for one group against another.”
Meanwhile, a security expert, Mr Jackson Lekan-Ojo, stated that, “The activities of the bandits today are now more deadly than Boko Haram. People who have sympathy for them (bandits) are moving about freely but some of those they (DSS) met at Sunday Igboho’s house were killed and others unlawfully detained.”
He added that, “A court of competent jurisdiction has declared them as terrorists, what is the Attorney General of the Federation doing that this declaration by the court has not been gazetted by the Federal Government? There is no political will to deal with the bandits.”
Oladele Fajana, a security expert, also stated that the bandits were terrorists, as he lamented that every situation in the country was always politically motivated.
According to him, “The major problem is that most of the key players and commentators are not sincere. They are partitioned along political, religious and tribal lines, and that is why this issue has lingered for this long. If you want to fight these people, you must fight them simultaneously so they will not escape, but the government is not listening to the voice of the people.”