The Military Was Afraid of Facing ICC: El- Rufai Explains Why Army Was Reluctant To Bomb Bandits

The Military Was Afraid of Facing ICC: El- Rufai Explains Why Army Was Reluctant To Bomb Bandits

  • The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai has openly declared that he advised the federal government to declare bandits terrorists
  • He made this disclosure while explaining the reason why the Nigerian Army was unwilling to bomb bandits before FG's directive
  • While noting such a move would attract concerns from the international court, El-Rufai disclosed that bandits do not have a single command hence a delay in their declaration

Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna state, revealed the Nigerian military was reluctant to bomb bandits because of concerns about facing the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Speaking on Thursday, February 24, at a media briefing at the presidential villa, el-Rufai said he had advised the federal government to declare bandits as terrorists in 2017, The Cable reports.

The Kaduna governor disclosed that he was informed that it would be difficult to declare bandits as terrorists because they do not have a single command like Boko Haram and ISWAP.

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El- Rufai Explains Why Army Was Reluctant To Bomb Bandits Before FG’s Order
The Kaduna state governor said he had told the president to declare bandits as terrorists in 2017. Photo credit: Nasir El-Rufai
Source: Facebook

He, however, said with the latest development, he believes the military now has the necessary legal backing to go after bandits.

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El-Rufai said:

“The military was afraid of bombing them and then facing ICC. You know the media and civil societies always rise to protect those at the receiving end of something, not looking at the victims of those people sometimes.
“No general wants to retire and then you go to the US and they arrest you and say you have bombed civilians. So, there is reluctance on the part of the military. With this declaration of the federal high court, I think we can go after them.”

Bandits declaration

Earlier, on November 25, 2021, a federal high court in Abuja declared the activities of all bandit groups in the country as acts of terrorism.

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Nigerians react

Prior to the declaration, many Nigerians had asked the federal government to initiate the process for the declaration of bandits as terrorists.

In January 2022, the federal government finally released a gazette proscribing bandits as terrorists.

Buhari's govt uncovers 96 Boko Haram, ISWAP sponsors

Meanwhile, the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday, February 3, said the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) had uncovered 96 financiers of Boko Haram and ISWAP.

Mohammed at a briefing on the anti-corruption fight of President Muhammadu Buhari also revealed that the NFIU has exposed 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, 123 firms, and 33 bureaux de change linked with insurgency.

Even more, the minister disclosed that the agency had identified 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven accomplices, adding that 45 of the suspects will soon be prosecuted.

Insecurity: Nigerian military using internationally approved practices

In another report, an American journalist, Daniel Furnad carefully analysed the security situation in Nigeria under the administration of President Buhari.

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Furnad who is also a conflict resolution expert said that the Nigerian military under the present administration is tackling terrorism within the best international standard and rules of engagement.

The journalist said this while speaking via Skype at a conference for non-governmental organisations, conflict managers, journalists, and civil society organisations. notes that Furnad's assessment comes at a time Nigeria is facing several security challenges apart from terrorism. These include banditry, kidnapping, among others.


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