President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday formally proscribed Islamist group BOKO Haram and Ansaru.
He has also authorized the gazetting of an order declaring the groups’ activities as illegal and acts of terrorism.
By this development, any person associated with the groups can now be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
This followed the imposition of state of emergency on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states considered the epicentre of the Islamic insurgents’ activities and the consequent placement of a hefty bounty on Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau by the United States government.
According to a statement issued in Abuja by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the order has been 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.
It said that it was approved by President Jonathan pursuant to section 2 0f the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 (As Amended).
The statement said that the order 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 warned 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.”
The statement pointed out that Section 5 (1) of the Act prescribes a term of imprisonment of not fewer 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.
According to it, “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.”