Declaration of bandits as terrorists, now gives army legal backing to crush them – El- Rufai

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Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has said that with the declaration of bandits as terrorists, the army now have the necessary legal backing to deal with the criminals.
According to him, the Nigerian military was reluctant to bomb the bandits because of concerns about facing the International Criminal Court (ICC).
A federal high court in Abuja has on November 25, 2021, declared the activities of all bandit groups in the country as acts of terrorism.
In January 2022, the federal government released a gazette proscribing bandits as terrorists.
Speaking on Thursday at a media briefing at the presidential villa, Abuja, El-Rufai said in 2017, he advised the federal government to declare bandits as terrorists.
He however said he was informed that it would be difficult to declare bandits as terrorists because they do not have single command like Boko Haram and ISWAP.
El-Rufai said with the latest development, he believes the army now has the necessary legal backing to go after bandits who have continued to terrorised th north west states, especially Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Niger state in the north central.
“As far back as 2017, we saw the danger of this, we made a presentation to the federal government to declare these bandits as terrorists.
“But based on advice, it was said that since they do not have single command and control the way Boko Haram, ISWAP and terrorists are, it is difficult to declare them insurgents.
“But I’m happy that by the ruling of the federal high court, they have now been declared as terrorists so there is a fair game.
“The military was afraid of bombing them and then facing ICC. You know the media and civil societies always rise to protect those at the receiving end of something, not looking at the victims of those people sometimes”, El-Rufai said.

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