Gazette Affirming Bandits As Terrorists Will Be Out Soon ― Malami

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Gazette Affirming Bandits As Terrorists Will Be Out Soon ― Malami

• Says public interest’ll determine Kanu’s release

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that the gazetting of the court order declaring bandits as terrorists will be done in the next few days.

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He gave the assertion while appearing on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme monitored in Abuja on Tuesday.

His remark followed queries by sections of the country over why the bandits had not been designated terrorists despite the court order declaring them so.

The AGF assured that the Federal Government is trying to ensure that its action on the matter complies with best international best practices.

Malami said: “The gazetting of a court order or judgement is a process but what matters fundamentally within the context of the international convention is the judicial declaration and that has been obtained; the court has declared bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers as terrorists.”

However, he noted that since the court had already declared them as terrorists, they remain so, adding: “So, with or without the gazette, what gives effect to such declaration is a judicial pronouncement but the gazette is a mere formality and it has been on and I believe within a matter of days, it will be concluded.”

The minister explained that because of the implication of its action, which allows the government to apply maximum force on terrorists, it wanted to be sure it operates within the confines of international laws.

He stated: “Government has a responsibility to act but within the context of acting, you’re equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement, and one of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place.”

“Whatever military hardware you acquire, there are limits within the context of the international convention as to how it can be used, when it can be used, and against who it can be used. And that is how the idea of looking at the activities of the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers come into being.

“Our assessment took into consideration that they are causing a major threat to the territorial peaceful co-existence and causing a major threat to lives with weapons.

“The idea then came about that indeed they (bandits) have satisfied the criteria of being declared terrorists within the context of the law so that whatever military hardware at the disposal of the federal government can best be used against them within the context of the international convention and within the context of the law,” Malami added.

He noted that the declaration of bandits as terrorists has cleared the way for “the deployment and usage” of the recently acquired Super Tucano fighter jets against them.

He further stated: “One thing I can tell you is any international conventional demands associated with the usage of the Super Tucano has been obtained which is a judicial pronouncement and declaration of bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers as terrorists.”

The minister also spoke on the recent appeal by prominent Igbo leaders for the release of the self-proclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, saying that any decision on his case will depend on national interest.

In the same way, he said the government’s action of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will be determined not by sectional but public interest.

Malami explained: “By way of general statements to the two issues presented: the issue relating to electoral bill and the issue relating to Kanu and by extension, IPOB, what I can tell you for certain is that the decision of the President is based fundamentally and at all times on public interest consideration.

“In the art of governance and what I have come to learn about the mind and heart of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, is to consider the 200 million as against the limited people.

“By extension, the issue of Kanu, what would as well govern the decision of the President in terms of whatever request is presented is the public interest as against the limited sectional interest of it.”

Recall that following a hint by Malami that government may apply a political solution to Kanu’s case, a group of Igbo elders led by Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, had last November met President Muhammadu Buhari to encourage him to take the action.

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