Members of the House of Representatives yesterday backed their Senate counterpart as they asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits ravaging the Northern West region and other parts of the country as terrorists.
The House while adopting a motion moved by the chairman, House Committee on Defence, Hon Babajimi Benson resolved that the president should declare bandits and their known leaders and sponsors as terrorists.
The Senate had on Wednesday underscored the need for the presidency to demonstrate the political will towards ending insecurity by declaring the bandits as terrorists.
Babajinmi in his motion said, “The Senate, on Wednesday, 29th September 2021 adopted a motion asking President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits ravaging the northern part of the country terrorists and wage a total war on them.
“They also asked that the President declare all known leaders of bandits wanted and arrest them wherever they were found for speedy prosecution.
“Such declaration to be done through a proscription Order can be done pursuant to section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (as amended).
“I would like to echo the same sentiment and ask honourable colleagues to join the Senate in urging Mr President to declare bandits and their sponsors as terrorists.
This will underline the determination of the government to combat the wave of criminality and murders conducted by bandits all over the country.
“The declaration of bandits as terrorists can be done through a proscription order. That will serve as an added impetus for our brave security personnel to redouble their efforts at dealing with this menace.
“Such declaration when given the force of law, will renew the vigour and resolve of our gallant security personnel in dealing with the menace of banditry as the mode of operations and rules of engagement will be scaled up accordingly.
“Such an order will officially bring the activities of bandits and their sponsors within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act and any persons associated with such groups can then be legally prosecuted and sentenced to penalties specified in the Act.
“Declaration of all bandits as terrorists may also encourage other countries to do the same and help create a global consensus around dealing with transnational factors that feed the domestic activities of such proscribed organisations and individuals.
“As previously observed in this House, no one action can be a silver bullet to solving our insecurity in Nigeria. But a collection of many effective actions and strategies can bring safety. It is in this spirit that I speak today.
“Insecurity in Nigeria requires an all-of-government approach. Hence, I also urge the President to implement the recommendations of the National Security Summit, which took place in June this year and was officially delivered to Mr President in July.
“All hands have to be on deck to be able to win this battle against insecurity in all its manifestations,” Hon Babajimi stressed.
Sequel to the overwhelming support enjoyed by the motion, the House referred it to relevant Committees for compliance.