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Following a ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday declaring bandits as terrorists, the Nigerian Air Force is set to deploy Super Tucano aircraft in the North-West and North-Central regions of the country, especially in Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states.
The military, sources say had been reluctant to deploy the aircraft outside the North-East because of the conditions attached to the sale of the aircraft by the United States, which was anchored on human rights.
But top sources in the military told Punch that the coast had become clear to deploy the Super Tucano aircraft against bandits in the North-West and North-Central, following the court order declaring them as terrorists.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had, in a ruling on Thursday, declared activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups as acts of terrorism.
The ruling followed an ex parte motion filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mohammed Abubakar.
The DPPF told the court that the ex parte application was filed on the instructions of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, it was averred that security reports confirmed that bandits were behind “incessant kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of schoolchildren 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 property in Nigeria, particularly in the North-West and North-Central states in Nigeria.”
The affidavit added, “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.”
After entertaining the ex parte application, Justice Taiwo declared the activities of the Yan Bindiga, group” and the “Yan Ta’adda groups 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 judge also 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.”
The court directed the Federal Government to publish the proscription order in the official gazette and two national dailies.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.