Kidnappers Shall Henceforth Be Treated As Terrorists – President Tinubu

by Ohepo Ohepo

According to President Bola Tinubu, anyone who commit heinous crimes like kidnapping should be considered terrorists.

During a Ramadan dinner with members of the Federal judiciary, including Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the President made the announcement on Tuesday.

The President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to stopping banditry and declared that those who abduct children are cowards who cannot stand up to the strength of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

According to a statement from his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, the President stated, “We must treat kidnappers as terrorists.”

They exhibit cowardice. They’ve been treated poorly. They search for pliable targets. They abduct children from schools and sow discontent. At the luncheon attended by active and retired judges, including two former CJNs, Justice Mahmud Mohammed and Justice Walter Onnoghen, the President declared, “We must treat them equally as terrorists in order to get rid of them, and I promise you we will get rid of them.”

Nigeria is dealing with an increase in security issues, primarily from kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, and oil theft. The North-West and North-East geographic zones have seen the greatest number of insurgent and bandit attacks over the past ten years. Terrorist groups operating in these regions have spread throughout the forests, killing and enslaving thousands of locals, tourists, and vulnerable targets such as women and children.

The Tinubu administration has insisted that it will not engage in negotiations with bandits, despite the fact that the robbers are still robbing hundreds of civilians and schoolchildren—137 students from Kuriga in Kaduna State were taken hostage as part of their latest mass kidnapping.

On January 29, 2024, a few students and faculty members from Apostolic Faith School in Ekiti State were also kidnapped off their school bus. Attackers stopped them at Eporo-Ekiti when they were travelling to Emure-Ekiti. A week or so after they were liberated, the bus driver was discovered dead.

There has been a string of widespread kidnappings of schoolchildren in the nation, with the Kuriga students’ abduction not being the first. Terrorists have abducted thousands of kids in a series of mass kidnappings that have raised international outcry in recent years, from Chibok to Dapchi, Kankara, Kagara, and numerous other locations in the states of Kaduna, Katsina, and Niger. While some of the students were eventually set free, others have been held captive in the safe havens of their kidnappers and sexual abusers for all time.

Regarding the judicial officer salary review, the President promised that his administration would keep putting the required reforms into place to enhance the welfare and working circumstances of judicial officers.

“I acknowledge that one of the most underappreciated roles in society is that of the judiciary. its progress towards development is gradual, and they have yet to modernise its recordkeeping and equipment.

“If you look at a judicial officer’s career path, they cannot continue to practise their training after retirement.

The President said, “While the law’s framers may have had their reasons, I see this differently and see this from a fair compensation angle that should benefit everyone.”

President Tinubu acknowledged the judiciary’s contribution to maintaining the integrity of the judicial branch of government and conveyed his gratitude for their committed service to the country.

The President said, “We will keep encouraging one another and ushering Nigeria into that glorious dawn.”

The President’s kindness in inviting judicial officers to a Ramadan dinner, his dedication to judicial reforms, and his efforts to enhance the welfare of judicial officers nationwide were all praised by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“May the Lord keep blessing you and your leadership. Allow your spacecraft to gracefully land and berth. There are a lot of positive things in store for Nigerians, so we will keep praying for your administration,” he prayed.

In an extraordinary move, Justice Ariwoola praised the administration for nominating all 21 justices to the Supreme Court, marking a significant milestone.

Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, thanked the President for sending the executive bill to the National Assembly, titled “Judicial Office Holders, Salaries and Allowances, etc., Bill 2024.”

Fagbemi emphasised the unchanging status of judges’ wages and benefits since 2007 and praised the President for his bravery, tenacity, and empathy in acting decisively.

“To do what the President did requires a man of enormous heart, resolve, and consideration. The judges have received an increase of over 300.3 percent. Despite the fact that the National Assembly is still working on the law, the President has fulfilled his own obligations.

The Minister of Justice remarked, “In my brief tenure as Attorney-General, I have come to observe that you are very much interested in anything that concerns the judiciary, and I thank you for your abiding interest in the judiciary.”

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