Femi Falana, a human rights campaigner and Nigeria’s Senior Advocate, has encouraged the media and Nigerians to stop labeling terrorists as mere bandits.
Mr Falana issued the remark on Sunday in response to the Federal Government’s apparent inaction on calls to label bandits terrorists.
He made reference to the Chibok situation, as well as IPOB among others who the government was “quick to proscribe” as terrorists and yet has continued to treat banditry ‘lightly’.
“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.
“Embarrassed by the reluctance of the Federal Government to deal decisively with the so-called bandits the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, in separate sittings, unanimously passed resolutions last weekend requesting President Buhari to declare the dangerous criminal elements as terrorists and proscribe them in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act as amended without any further delay.
“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,” the Senior Advocate said.
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