HURIWA To Media: Call Them Terrorists, Not Bandits

Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) Said the reason armed Fulani terrorists previously addressed by the Federal government as armed bandits are still a veritable force and successfully attacking communities in Southern Kaduna, Niger and parts of Plateau, Zamfara, and Katsina States is because the President Muhammadu Buhari who has the direct command and control of the Armed forces has yet to compel the service/military chiefs to strike decisively at the heart of the terrorists or be relieved of their duties.

HURIWA has also charged Media houses to describe the armed bandits declared terrorists by the Court of law as terrorists and should stop behaving as if the blood cuddling violence unleashed by the terrorists in the North is not grave enough to deserve that high level description ascribed to them by the Court.

HURIWA said this same government did not spend even one second in rushing to the Federal High Court Abuja in the dead of the night to obtain an ex party order declaring the now proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist group even with no visible or legally convincing evidence of the involvement of neither the Indigenous People of Biafra or the Eastern Security Network in acts of terrorism.

The Rights group said with the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group the government wasted not one second to issue the gazette declaring IPOB as a terrorist group and then massively embarked on well funded surgical military operations in the South East of Nigeria which resulted in hundreds of deaths and massive arrests of suspected members of IPOB and ESN who are languishing in different detention facilities without prosecution as required by the Constitution.

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HURIWA however accused President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of pampering the largely Fulani armed terrorists because it took many years of agitations by activists for the government to summon courage to even go to the Federal High Court Abuja to get the Court to categorise the hitherto criminal gangs known as armed bandits as terrorists.

HURIWA then said even after the Court had made the determination,  the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice who is of the North West extraction like President Buhari and majority of the members of the armed Fulani militia now declared terrorists,  took many weeks to publish a gazette declaring them as terrorists thereby letting some of these terrorists to escape to safe havens.

The Rights group frowned at the fact that even after the gazette is out, the armed forces are not known to have carried out any transparent, verifiable and fool proof operations to decapitate, decimate and capture the terrorists thereby enabling them to spread their violent tentacles and to launch massive scales of terror attacks in Zamfara, Niger, Southern Kaduna and Plateau States.

 

HURIWA gleaned from the media that a government gazette announcing the declaration of the armed bandits as terrorists was signed on November 29, 2021, days after the court order.

HURIWA recalled the official notice stating thus: “A notice is hereby given that the order of the federal high court Abuja, in suit number FHC/ABJ/C’S/1370/2021 dated 2021as per the scheduled to this notice the activities of Yan Bindiga group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar groups in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the Northwest and north-central regions of Nigeria and are proscribed, pursuant to section 1 and 2 of Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011,” the gazette reads in part.

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“Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the groups referred to in paragraph 1 of this notice will be violating the provision of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 and liable to prosecution.”

HURIWA recalled that the court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo on November 26, held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups constituted acts of terrorism in the country.

HURIWA said the deliberate failure of the Federal government to activate mechanisms timeously like it did with IPOB to execute the order made by the Federal High Court Abuja declaring the hitherto armed Fulani militia as terrorists amounts to discrimination which is against Section 42(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999.

HURIWA specifically said Section 42. (1) of the Nigerian constitution provides thus:  “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-

(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or

(b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.

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(2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.”

HURIWA said the Army constantly displays bodies of alleged members of IPOB or ESN killed during military operations even though those military operations are alleged to be targeting innocent civilians in the South-East of Nigeria going by reports done by some Non Governmental bodies and Amnesty International but the Rights group said since the Federal High Court declared former Armed Fulani militia and bandits as terrorists it has been one excuse or the other from either President Muhammadu Buhari or his Justice minister on why these terrorists have yet to be crushed just as the terrorists continues to unleash mayhem in many parts of North West of Nigeria.

 

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