A Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo 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.
The court asked the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, (SAN), to publish the order in two national dailies and to also publish the order in the government’s official gazette.
Three weeks after the court’s order, the Federal Government has failed to officially designate bandits as terrorists, despite the promise by Malami to do so, neither has the government gazetted the order, thus failing to give life to the order.
The delay by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is very disturbing. This is not just a case of disrespect for the court but also a clear indication that the government is selective in its fight against criminal elements in the country.
We recall that in the case of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Malami was quick to gazette the designation of IPOB as terrorists on the same day that Justice Abdu Kafarati gave the order on September 20, 2017. The document signed by Malami was titled, ‘Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice, 2017’ and is contained in Volume 104 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.
Also, in the case of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria led by Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, Malami gazetted the proscription order four days after the court gave the order on July 26, 2019.
It is therefore surprising why the government has not done so. The delay to gazette the order has further emboldened the bandits to carry out more vicious attacks, especially in the North-West states of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna, killing hundreds of innocent persons and kidnapping several others including school children.
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For instance in Kaduna State, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, in his third quarter security report, said bandits killed 343, abducted 830 persons and injured 210 persons, including women and minors in the state within the third quarter of 2021 alone.
With such disturbing reports, it is no longer acceptable for the government to be foot-dragging because of the attendant consequences, we therefore urge President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct Malami to do the needful to reduce the carnage.
If Buhari fails to do so before the end of this year, he would have again displayed his lack of political will to deal with the problem of insurgency. His manifest incompetence to deal with insecurity in the country will also no longer be in doubt.