President Goodluck Jonathan has 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, which has been gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013, affects both Boko Haram (Jamaatu Ahlis-Sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad) and Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (Ansaru). The order was approved by President Jonathan pursuant to section 2 0f the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (As Amended).
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Rueben Abati, said this “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 statement said 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 section, “support” includes – (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.”
Boko Haram is currently engaging Nigerian forces in a battle in the North Eastern part of the country. The group has claimed responsibility or is blamed for the killing of thousands of people since it launched its violent offensive in 2009.
Ansaru carries out fewer attacks and largely focuses on the kidnap of foreigners and attack on security personnel.
The president declared a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa in order to curtail the activities of the insurgents after other options appeared not to be working. The U.S. also officially labeled the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, a terrorist and placed a $7 million (N1.1 billion) bounty for his capture.
Read more: Premium Times