VOICE OF NIGERIA
Rebecca Mu’azu and agency reports
4 June, 2013
President Goodluck Jonathan has formally approved the proscription of Boko Haram and authorised the gazetting of an order declaring the group’s activities illegal and acts of terrorism.
This is in a statement issued in Abuja by
Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to
the President on Media and Publicity. Abati said 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. He said the order gazetted as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice 2013, affects both Boko Haram (Jamaatu Ahlis-Sunna Liddaawati Wal Jihad) and another group – Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan.
Abati said the order was approved by the President pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (As
Amended). “It officially brings the activities of both groups within the purview of the Terrorism Prevention Act. “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,” he said.
This comes after the United States of
America announced that it is offering
rewards for information on Islamist
militants in North and West Africa. The U.S. Department of State explained that the reward placed on the militants is
to ensure that they are brought to justice and make them accountable for their crime. It says since 1984, the US Reward for Justice Programme has paid over $125 million to over eighty people who have provided information that led to the apprehension of many terrorist leaders across the globe.
The Acting Assistant Director of
Diplomatic Security’s Threat Investigations and Analysis Directorate,
U.S. Department of State, Kurt Rice, and
the Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Mr. David Gilmour, fielded questions from West African journalists in a telephonic press conference on a new U.S. counterterrorism initiative for nations in Western Africa.
Mr. Kurt Rice, said the Department was
working with the governments of the
affected countries, particularly Nigeria
partners, to try and make the countries
more secure. “First the leader Abubakar Shekau has been responsible for leading Boko Haram and we’ve certainly seen increases in the capability of and the terrorist capabilities of Boko Haram
under Abubakar Shekau, so that is why we are announcing the reward for him
at this time. Our intention to offer this rewards, not as a bounty, but just simply as a way of getting this information so we can bring these people, either before our courts or before the courts of our
partner nations,” Mr. Rice said.
The US Department of state said the highest reward of up to 7 million dollars, about 1.1 billion Naira, is for anyone with information leading to the location of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Other smaller rewards are offered for
leading figures in Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa.
They include Mokhtar Belmokhtar of the
His Signed in Blood Battalion, Yahya Abu
el Hammam, a senior commander of the
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and his
co-accomplices Malik Abou Abdelkarim
and Mujao spokesman Oumar Ould Hamaha.
According to Kurt Rice, similar information had been used in the past to apprehend some of the people wanted by the US. “There are some of these cases that we have done case studies where people have given us information and how that information had been used to actually apprehend some people we have offered reward on,” Rice said.
Also, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for
African Affairs, U.S. Department of State,
David Gilmour, says the present approach is to support the leaders in the region to tackle insurgency in the region. “Our approach there is basically to support the governments in the region so that they can look at their own
security needs and where we are to
assist and provide advice on helping
them to do that. And again it’s for them to take comprehensive approach to not only respond with security forces to terror incidents, but also to try to prevent terrorism to make sure they support marginalized voices in the society and make sure that things like youth empowerment programmes, arms
among young people, who could be
vulnerable to recruitment terrorist
organizations,” Gilmour said.
Gilmour also ruled out suggestions that
the seven million dollar (N1.1bn) bounty
offered on the head of Shekau could be
counter-productive to Nigeria
government amnesty offer to the
insurgents. Gilmour reiterated the U.S. position that security-based solution was not the only way to address the issue.
The U.S. diplomat on Africa said his
government was working closely with
Nigeria on security and counter-terrorism issues. “It is a multi-faceted programme that requires a multi-faceted response,” he said.
The US Government has urged all with
relevant information to get more details
from its website http://www.rewardsforjustice.net/