Now that bandits have been declared as a terrorist group – By Davidson Malison

December 14, 2021
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Proscribing bandits as ‘terrorists’ is not the end of the killings Nigeria has been long sick and tired of; it is only the end of the debate. The debate has ended. And the end is only a beginning to another end—terrorism. When it comes to (in)security, there are more to it, especially the Nigerian situation. The ‘proscription’ of ‘bandits’ as ‘terrorists’ has no much force to move an average Nigerian. Like just said, the security dearth in Nigeria today is too complicated to much faults.

The proscription was long overdue. Notwithstanding, the havoc wreaked by bandits lately is said to be even worse than that of the Boko Haram terrorist group. In fact, it is not a lie to say again that bandits were behind incessant kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children and other citizens, cattle rustling, enslavement, imprisonment, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings in communities and commuters, and wanton destruction of lives and properties, particularly in the North-West and North-Central states of Nigeria.

The debate is won; the recent ‘nomenclature’ (who was who/who was not who) debate. It’s won in favour of all Nigerians whose lives and properties matter. But that should not be the end. Just as hot as it was when they were ‘bandits’, the tempo should even be increased. The winning will only prove true when vulnerable Nigerians begin to live with their minds at rest and their properties safe—courtesy the nation’s action to not just face, but hunt, these terrorists down their hideouts, war, arrest and prosecute them.

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Any effective technique the government has deployed for the past years in combating the Boko Haram terrorist can be employed, as it is no longer news that this is another fashion of terrorism. However, the government should know that she is fighting terrorism on two fronts—the old Boko Haram terrorists, and this newly proscribed ‘terrorists’. The security apparatus, by their intelligence, experience and expertise need not to be told what to do. The proscription alone bears every tale anyone was supposed to hear.

This is just step one. The real applause comes when ACTION is taken. From the High Court down to Aso Rock and anywhere, all whose words brought this to limelight have spoken well; but ‘well done is still better than well said.’ Action. Action is what the people look out for. A lot have been maimed, injured, killed. A lot of money has been lost to ransom, etc. A lot of properties are in ashes and rubbles. Even more bitter, these acts of terror are still ongoing. This ‘good news’ is not good enough. Action, action is what Nigerians keenly look out for.

Those whom is their responsibility to move on with the next line of action know better than to be told what to do. It will appear a mockery if they wait to be told to do (act). Femi Macaulay said, “it is easy to change labels, and tag bandits as terrorists. But that does not change banditry, and it does not change terrorism. Perhaps the government can afford to play word games, which is what this reclassification suggests. But the victims of bandits and terrorists know and feel the hell of insecurity. They need more than word games.”

The proscription is only a beginning to the real work, the real war, the real end. Action is what Nigerians keenly look for. “Action speaks louder than words.”

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