FG proscribes Boko Haram, JAMBS
The Federal Government, which is fighting insurgents in three states - Yobe, Adamawa and Borno - has proscribed Boko Haram.
Besides, it prescribed a 20-year jail term for its members, The Nation has reported.
The government secured an order from the Federal High Court, Abuja to ban Jamaatu Ahlis-sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) and Jama'atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan(JAMBS) from either existing or operating in the country.
Boko Haram is beleived to have killed over 1,000 Nigerians since 2009. Ansarul emerged this year when it attacked a military convoy on Itakpe-Okene highway on January 19, in protest against the crackdown on terrorists in Mali by African forces.
JAMBS in February claimed responsibility for the abduction of seven expatriates , including Lebanese and their European counterparts working with a construction firm, SETRACO.
In proscribing the two groups, the government invoked Section 2 of 'The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2011' in approaching the court.
A document obtained by the newspaper from the Registry of the Federal High Court, indicated that the proscription order was granted by Justice A. Abdu Kafarati on May 25.
The motion ex-parte from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was supported by what a source in the court described as 'revealing affidavit sworn to by the Litigation Officer in Civil Litigation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ballah Alli.
It was learnt that the government obtained the court order so as to be able to enforce the ongoing operation by Special Forces in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
It was also learnt that the government's application was also informed by the need to overrun Boko Haram and Ansarul and apprehend all their sponsors.
With the court order, any Nigerian who belongs to or professes to belong to Boko Haram or any terrorist group, is liable to 20 years imprisonment.
Also, any Nigerian who assists, provides logistics, equipment or attends a meeting of either Boko Haram or Ansarul will be jailed for 10 years.
According to the court records, the government's ex-parte motion was moved by Mrs. A.O. Mbamali, SAN and supported by Chief State counsel, B.A Saidu Esq; Principal State Counsel, Mrs. O.V. Nwechukwu; and another Principal State counsel, Mrs. H.U. Chime.
The order of the court, signed by its Registrar, Ashada Babatunde M, dated the May 23, and filed on May 24.
•declare the activities of the defendants ('Jamaatu Ahlis-sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad(otherwise known as Boko Haram) and Jama'atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan in any part of this country as terrorism and illegal;
•proscribe the existence of the defendants Jamaatu Ahlis-sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad(otherwise known as Boko Haram) and Jama'atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan in any part of this country either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called; and
•restrain any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the said group.
The court heard Mrs. A.O. Mbamali, SAN (with her B.A Saidu Esq, Chief State counsel, Mrs. O.V. Nwechukwu, Principal State Counsel, Mrs. H.U. Chime, Principal State counsel for the applicant and declared the activities of the defendants illegal.
It proscribed the existence of the defendants, in any part of this country either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called.
'An order is hereby granted restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the said group,' the court said.
A source said the government applied for the proscription of the two groups based on Section 2 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2011.
Section 2(1-6) in the Act reads in part: 'Where two or more persons associate for the purpose of, or where an organisation engages in: (a) participating or collaborating in an act of terrorism (b) promoting, encouraging or extorting others to commit an act of terrorism; or (c) setting up or pursing acts of terrorism, the judge in chambers may on an application made by the Attorney-General, National Security Adviser (NSA) or Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the approval of the President declare any entity to be a proscribed organisation and the notice should be published in official gazette.
'An order made under subsection (1) of this section shall be published in the official gazette, in two national newspapers and at such other places as the judge in chambers may determine.
'A publication made under subsection (2) of this section shall contain such relevant particulars as the judge in chambers may specify.
'A person who belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organisation commits an offence under this Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 20 years.
'The Attorney-General upon the approval of the President may withdraw the order if satisfied that such proscribed organisation has ceased to engage in act of terrorism (a) the proscribed organisation or person affected by the order made an application on notice; and (b) he is satisfied that a proscribed organisation has ceased to engage in the acts specified in subsection (1) of this section and that there is no likelihood of the organisation engaging in such acts in the future and shall be published in the official gazette.
'A person who (a) arranges, manages or assists in arranging or managing or participates in a meeting or an activity which he knows is connected with an act of terrorism; (a) provides logistics, equipment or facilities for a meeting of an activity which he knows is connected with an act of terrorism; or (b) attends a meeting which he knows is to support a proscribed organisation or to further the objectives of a proscribed organisation, commits an offence under this Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 10 years.'
As at the time of filing this report, it was not clear whether the Federal Government has foreclosed talks with Boko Haram leaders.
A source said: 'As far as the government is concerned, the two groups are no longer in existence. The government provided a window for dialogue but they have refused to embrace it.
'You should not expect a government to negotiate with illegal groups anymore.'