Nigeria Set to Deploy Tucano Fighter Jets against Terrorists as Gazette Declares Bandits, Terrorists

Given the judicial declaration, the federal government, on Tuesday, said it was ready to deploy the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets against armed bandits wreaking havoc in the Northwestern part of the country.

By international convention and best practices captured in the purchase agreements reached with the United States government, the fighter jets could only be deployed, when there is evidence that a group to which they were to deployed against were declared terrorists and constituted a threat to national security.

Legal backing by way of judicial pronouncement and a government gazette was also part of the requirements.

Following conditions attached to the acquisition of the fighter jet, the Nigerian military had been reluctant to deploy the aircraft outside the North-East, the epicenter of the Boko Haram terrorist activities.

Specifically, the United States from where the aircraft was purchased, had warned that the aircraft should not be used outside tackling the Boko Haram terrorist group.

However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 26, 2021, granted an ex parte application by the federal government for Yan Bindiga (Hausa word for gunmen) and Yan Ta’adda (Hausa word for terrorists) to be declared as terrorists.

The court had asked the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to publish the order in two national dailies and to publish the order in the official gazette.

Thus, speaking on the NTA Good Morning Nigeria Show, Malami, said the armed bandits, had by their activities, become a threat to the nation and, therefore, satisfied the requirements to be declared terrorists.

He said the gazetting of the court order declaring bandits as terrorists will be done in the next few days.

The AGF gave the assurance that the Nigerian Government is trying to ensure that its action on the matter complies with best international best practices.

Malami said: “The gazetting of a court order or judgment is a process but what matters fundamentally within the context of the international convention is the judicial declaration and that has been obtained; the court has declared bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers as terrorists.”

“Our assessment took into consideration that they are causing a major threat to the territorial peaceful co-existence and causing a major threat to lives with weapons, the idea then came about that indeed they (bandits) have satisfied the criteria of being declared terrorists within the context of the law so that whatever military hardware at the disposal of the federal government can best be used against them within the context of the international convention and within the context of the law.

“The gazetting of a court order or judgment is a process but what matters fundamentally within the context of the international convention is the judicial declaration and that has been obtained, the court has declared bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers as terrorists.

“So, with or without the gazette, what gives effect to such declaration is a judicial pronouncement but the gazette is a mere formality and it has been on and I believe within a matter of days, it will be concluded,” he said.

The AGF affirmed that the declaration of bandits as terrorists had cleared the way for the “deployment and usage” of Super Tucano fighter jets against them.

His words: “One thing I can tell you is any international conventional demands associated with the usage of the Super Tucano has been obtained, which is a judicial pronouncement and declaration of bandits, cattle rustlers, and kidnappers as terrorists.

“Government has a responsibility to act but within the context of acting, you are equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement and one of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place.

“Whatever military hardware you acquire, there are limits within the context of the international convention as to how it can be used, when it can be used, and against who it can be used and that is how the idea of looking at the activities of the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers come into being,” he stated.

 

On Jan 5, 2022
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However, he noted that since the court had already declared them as terrorists, they remain so, adding: “So, with or without the gazette, what gives effect to such declaration is a judicial pronouncement but the gazette is a mere formality and it has been on and I believe within a matter of days, it will be concluded.”

The minister explained that because of the implication of its action, which allows the government to apply maximum force on terrorists, it wanted to be sure it operates within the confines of international laws.

He stated: “Government has a responsibility to act but within the context of acting, you’re equally expected to operate within the confines of international best practices associated with engagement, and one of such best practices is that you can only use maximum force on groups, individuals that are declared terrorists and that is where the application of the Terrorism Act comes in place.”
“Whatever military hardware you acquire, there are limits within the context of the international convention as to how it can be used, when it can be used, and against who it can be used. And that is how the idea of looking at the activities of the bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers come into being.

“Our assessment took into consideration that they are causing a major threat to the territorial peaceful co-existence and causing a major threat to lives with weapons.

“The idea then came about that indeed they (bandits) have satisfied the criteria of being declared terrorists within the context of the law so that whatever military hardware at the disposal of the federal government can best be used against them within the context of the international convention and within the context of the law,” Malami added.

He noted that the declaration of bandits as terrorists has cleared the way for “the deployment and usage” of the recently acquired Super Tucano fighter jets against them.

He further stated: “One thing I can tell you is any international conventional demands associated with the usage of the Super Tucano has been obtained which is a judicial pronouncement and declaration of bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers as terrorists.”

 

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