In a bid to wage war against terrorism headlong, the Federal Government, yesterday proscribed two terrorist groups unleashing mayhem on the polity, describing their activities as illegal and acts of terrorism.
The outlawed groups are the Jamaatu Ahlis-Sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram and the Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan also known as Ansaru.
In proscribing the sects, President Goodluck Jonathan authorized the gazetting of “an order declaring their activities illegal and acts of terrorism.”
This was contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.
The statement was entitled, “President Jonathan approves order proscribing Boko Haram and ANSARU; members, supporters, collaborators now face prosecution under terrorism prevention Act.”
Abati said that the order which had already been gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention, Proscription Order) Notice 2013 was approved by President Jonathan pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (as amended).
According to him, the notice, “officially brings the activities of both groups within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act and any persons associated with the two groups can now be legally prosecuted and sentenced to penalties specified in the Act.
“The proscription order warns the general public that any person participating in any form of activities involving or concerning the collective intentions of the said groups will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act.
Section 5 (1) of the act prescribes a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group.
“For the purposes of subsection (1) of the section, “support” include:
(a) incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information;
(b) receipt or provision of material assistance, weapons including biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, training, transportation, false documentation or identification to terrorists or terrorist groups;
(c) receipt or provision of information or moral assistance, including invitation to adhere to a terrorist or terrorist group;
(d) entering or remaining in a country for the benefit of, or at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; or
(e) the provision of, or making available, such financial or other related services prohibited under this Act or as may be prescribed by regulations made pursuant to this Act.”President Goodluck Jonathan has formally approved the proscription of Boko Haram and authorized the gazetting of an order declaring the group’s activities illegal and acts of terrorism.
The order, yesterday, elicited mixed reactions in the polity with the Senate backing the decision but lamented that it was coming late.