Attorney-General Abubakar Malami on a television programme yesterday 4 January in Abuja defends government’s delay in renaming bandits as terrorists.

An Abuja high court on 26 November 2021 declared bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers as terrorists.

However, the Federal Government kept mute on the judgement, prompting a public outcry.

Yesterday on an NTA live programme, the Attorney-General defended the delay, saying government was following “international best practices”.

The process concludes when government publishing its declaration in its official journal known as the Government Gazette, Malami said.

“The process is on and will be concluded in a matter of days,” he said.

Critics compared the delay to the swift publication of a similar court declaration on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Military and security forces relied on the gazette to launch use of maximum force on unarmed youths.

Malami said Government initiated a similar process to gazette the declation and will conclude this “in a matter of days”.

“Government has a responsibility to act. Within the context of acting, you equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement.

“One of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists. That is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in(to) place,” he said.

The Attorney-General drew similarities between government action on IPOB and its current posture on terrorists.

“…Nigeria acted, first by proscribing IPOB, taking into consideration the threats to lives and properties they have caused in the nation.

“Boko Haram was proscribed.

“The gazetting of a court order or judgement is a process. What matters fundamentally within the context of international convention is the judicial declaration and that has been obtained .

“The court has declared bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers as terrorists.

“What gives effect to such declaration is a judicial pronouncement. The gazette is a mere formality … and I believe within a matter of days, it will be concluded.”

Renaming bandits as terrorists – Malami defends government delay