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*Declaration won’t change anything—Gumi

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

The Northern Youths Council of Nigeria has commended the declaration of bandits, (Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’ada ) as terrorists by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court Abuja following an Ex-parte motion filed by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi however maintained that the declaration of bandits as terrorists by the court would not change anything as it was just for political expediency.

In a ruling, the Abuja court specifically declared the activities of the “Yan Bindiga Group and the Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar groups in any part of the country, especially in the Northwest and North central geo-political zones as “acts of terrorism and illegality”.

Reacting to the declaration in a statement jointly signed by its president, Comrade Isah Abubakar and Director General, Media and Publicity, Samuel Kure, the Northern Youths Council noted that though 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, it was better late than never.

“We will welcome full military operation in North Western and North Central parts of the country as it is happening in North East against Boko Haram and ISWAP elements which has drastically reduced their activities. The Council hereby urge our Armed Forces and other sister security agencies, to arrest and prosecute anybody seen giving 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 youths said.

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has proscribed bandit groups as terrorists.

Specifically, the court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, 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 motion was moved by the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP,  Mohammed Abubakar.

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.

READ ALSO: Declaration of bandits terrorists a step long overdue — Akingbolu

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 and commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria, particularly in the Northwest and North central 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”, FG added.

The DPP, Abubakar, told the court that perturbed by actions of the bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for their proscription as terrorists groups.

After he had listened to the government lawyer, 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 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”. Justice Taiwo also ordered the Federal Governdment to publish the proscription order in the official gazette as well as in two national dailies.

Declaration of bandits as terrorists is for political expediency — Gumi

Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has said, who has always spoken in support of the bandits said the decision was taken for political expediency,which would not change anything.

According to him ,”I    think 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 are being fought and treated as terrorists.”

In a statement issued by Malam Tukur Mamu, the Dan-Iyan Fika and Media Consultant to Sheikh Gumi, the Muslim scholar said “so it’s just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on ground. If you can remember, IPOB was also declared a terrorist organisation, the declaration was even backed by the order of the Court but as you can see even the international community did not recognize Federal Government’s declaration of IPOB. So it has failed to be effective or to achieve the desired results.

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