President Muhammadu Buhari deserves credit and commendation for going through the democratic process to proscribe bandits groups and clothe them in the garb of terrorists.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), the Federal High Court ruling in Abuja which declared the activities of these groups and other similar groups in any part of the country as “acts of terrorism and illegality” is commendable and a step in the right direction.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO noted that President Buhari has not only shown qualitative leadership, but also respect for the Nigerian constitution, separation of power, and due process.
“Amidst pressure from the National Assembly, individuals and groups clamouring for the declaration of bandits as terrorists, the President did not just take laws into his own hands by ‘calling the shot’ but rather resorted to a democratic process; channeling the issue to the right quarters, the Judiciary.
“Initially, it was difficult to declare bandits as terrorist groups because, in the eye of the law, they are criminals engaged in killings, abductions, rapes, kidnappings and other related acts and offences. They have no political or ideological agenda, and so did not fit into any of the boxes that would qualify them as terrorists under the Terrorism Act.
“What the Federal Government has done is to take it beyond the Act and give it a new definition through judicial declaration, and by so doing, provide legal backing for the proscription of the bandit groups.
“Now, the Executive arm of government can enforce the declaration of the judiciary and go all out to decimate every bandit element operating in any part of the country”.
BMO added that this has eliminated arguments that would have sprung up if the declaration was made outside the judicial process.
“We now have a strong ground and the backing of the law, arguable anywhere in the world, that gives legality to the proscription.
“We hope that Nigerians can now clearly see that President Muhammadu Buhari is intentional about handling the issue of insecurity in the country and not treating bandits with kid-gloves as some have been led to believe”.