Femi Falana said that President Muhammadu Buhari was unprepared to declare bandits as terrorists.
A human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “deliberately refusing” to declare bandits as terrorists and prosecute them.
KanyiDaily recalls that the Nigerian Senate had asked President Buhari to declare bandits operating in different parts of the country as terrorists and to wage a total war against them.
The lawmakers also asked the President to approve aerial bombardment of bandits and terrorist locations, to annihilate and eliminate them.
They further urged President Buhari to declare all the known bandit leaders wanted and track them whenever they are for arrest and prosecution.
Buhari’s Refusal To Declare Bandits As Terrorists
In a statement on Sunday, Falana said he is embarrassed by Buhari’s reluctance to deal with bandits after the Senate requested that he should declare the dangerous criminal elements as terrorists and proscribe them in accordance with the law.
Falana added that Buhari’s government was unprepared to declare bandits as terrorists despite knowing that they are not different from Boko Haram insurgents who are regarded as terrorists.
He said, “The failure to ascribe these criminals as ‘terrorists’ as evidenced in the kidnappings of the Chibok and the Dapchi schoolgirls led to the proliferation of the scourge.
“It is public knowledge that the dangerous criminal elements who kidnapped the Chibok and Dapchi secondary school girls in the North-East Zone in 2014 and 2017 respectively were not referred to as bandits.
“They were called terrorists by the Federal Government and the media. The description was correct as the abductions carried out by the criminal elements were acts of terrorism.
“But for reasons best known to the Federal Government the criminal elements who are currently involved in the brutal killing of innocent people and abduction of thousands of people including primary school pupils in the North West Zone are called bandits and not terrorists,” the statement reads.
“It is undoubtedly clear that the criminal elements who abduct unarmed citizens, kill them or release them after collecting ransom to the tune of several millions of Naira are terrorists.
“The criminal elements who attack and down military planes are terrorists. The criminal elements who attack police stations and seize weapons to attack innocent people are terrorists.
“The criminal elements who attack correctional centres and release inmates therein are terrorists. The criminal elements who destroy government properties or public facilities are terrorists. But the Federal Government has deliberately refused to declare the bandits terrorists and prosecute them.
“In August 2019, the State Security Service arrested and detain Mr. Omoyele Sowore for planning a peaceful rally against the Buhari administration. While he was in detention the SSS secretly applied for an ex parte order to have Sowore detained for 90 days for the purpose of investigating his alleged terrorist activities. Even though there was no evidence to support the application the Federal High Court ordered that Sowore be detained for 45 days. At the end of the investigation the SSS confirmed that there was no scintilla of evidence linking Sowore to terrorism.
“Recently, the Kaduna State High Court dismissed the charge of culpable homicide against Sheikh Ibrahim Elzakzaky and his wife. Completely dissatisfied with the verdict the Kaduna State Government has charged them with terrorism.
“And sequel to the proscription of the MIN the police and the army engage in routine extrajudicial execution of scores of Shiites for embarking on peaceful protests in Abuja and other states in the North. However, while the Federal Government is waging a full scale war against the Shiites, IPOB members and journalists it has continued to treat the so called bandits with kid glove.
“The federal lawmakers also asked President Buhari to declare all the known leaders of the bandits wanted and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution. So far, the Federal Government has ignored the resolutions.
“However, as the Federal Government is not prepared to declare them as terrorists we call on the media and the Nigerian people to stop referring to terrorists as bandits.”
KanyiDaily had earlier reported how Bandits are now using the network service of Niger Republic to coordinate attacks in Nigeria