Now that bandits are terrorists

The Federal High Court Headquarters in Abuja recently declared bandits as terrorists. The judge also declared the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda group and other similar groups in the country as acts of terrorism and therefore illegal. There is no doubt that the verdict has strengthened the call on the federal government to declare bandits ravaging the North-western and the North-central regions as terrorists. The bandits have been vicious in kidnapping and killing their captives across Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Benue and Niger states. 
According to court documents, the federal government based its decision on security reports, which confirmed that the bandits are responsible for the “killings, abductions, rape, kidnappings,” in northern Nigeria.
The government blamed the group for the growing cases of “banditry, incessant kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abduction 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 on commuters and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Nigeria, particularly in the North-west and North-central states in Nigeria. Therefore, their activities constitute acts of terrorism that can lead to the breakdown of public order and safety and a threat to national security and the corporate existence of Nigeria. This is a fact that nobody can refute. Looking at how the proscribed group continues to inflict harm on helpless farming communities, by declaring them as terrorists, government will now concentrate on crushing them and other terrorists organisations threatening the country’s peace and stability. Indeed, this is a welcome decision.
However, many opinions moulders, including renowned Islamic preacher, Sheikh Mahmud Gumi,who assumed the role of a mediator between government and bandits, have picked holes in the decision.To them, by declaring the rampaging bandits as terrorists, the group will soon launch dangerous war against the state. They argued that the group can also attract sympathy and affiliation from other similar terrorists organisations. Sheikh Gumi, who has been reaching out to the bandits in different camps to plead with them to surrender their weapons, renounce violence and repent, condemned the decision and described it as politically motivated.  There is no gain saying the fact that the emergence of banditry is purely the mismanagement of cattle rustling by constituted authorities. However, the confrontation between local vigilantes set up by communities to go after the cattle rustlers have also fueled banditry. 
There are also criminals and Boko Haram elements who may have infiltrated the bandits, attacked farming communities and kidnapped helpless farmers for ransom. I think this is the simple reason some Nigerians distinguish between bandits and terrorists. 

While they view the former as being driven by economic gains, they see the latter as ideological indoctrinated and driven by political gains. While they differ in ideologies, bandits and terrorists share some similarities: reign of terror, killings and high scale destruction. If government bases it reasons for the atrocities committed by bandits and labels or declares them as terrorists, there is nothing wrong with that.  What baffles many Nigerians is that with bandits and other groups being declared terrorists, will the government bring an end to the security challenges bedeviling the North and the country at large? This question has become imperative. The war against Boko Haram terrorists which has so far claimed so many lives and properties, displaced thousands of people included children in Borno and other North-east states, is an example of how the war against terrorism is being fought. Fight against terrorism is devastating, time and materials consuming. Now, the government has to take the war to the terrorists’ enclaves or camps in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and other terrorists ravaged states. Our military should as usual use or adopt  conventional and guerilla warfare to defeat the terrorists. While it is on record that considerable success has been recorded through defeating terrorists in North-east made them to attack only soft targets, it is obvious that the war is not yet over. 
Moreover, with the arrival of Super Tucano aircraft, government has proved it is serious about the war against terrorists in the country. There is also the need for government to intestify intelligence gathering and adopt mordern technology such as drones in order to succeed in the war against terrorists.Ibrahim Mustapha,Pambegua, Kaduna state08169056963.