As FG tightens noose on B’Haram sponsors…

AGF Malami

After all entreaties, the Federal Government opened up recently on its resolve to put on trial alleged sponsors of Boko Haram insurgents who have been terrorizing and wreaking havoc in the country for some years now, KEHINDE OSASONA writes.

After all hope was almost lost, the Federal Government announced last week that it has successfully blocked the source of finance of terrorists in the country.

According to the central government, it has also succeeded in identifying and detaining “high profile individuals” responsible for funding terrorists’ activities in the country.

Blueprint learnt that about 957 suspects comprising bureau de change (BDC) operators, gold miners and sellers and other business persons have so far been profiled.

In a related development, Blueprint reports that the UAE government had, few weeks ago, via a state-run WAM news agency named six Nigerians as alleged financiers of terrorism globally.

Not only that, the six Nigerians; Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad were reportedly placed on the oil-rich country’s watch list.

Other entities linked to the alleged terrorists are Ray Tracing Trading Co LLC, H F Z A Arzoo International F Z E, Hanan Shipping L.L.C, Four Corners Trading Est, Sasco Logistic L.L.C,  AlJarmouzi General Trading LLC, Al Jarmoozi Cargo & Clearing (L.L.C), Al Jarmoozi Transport By Heavy & Light Trucks (L.L.C), Naser Aljarmouzi Ceneral Trading (L.L.C), Naser Aljarmouzi Cargo & Clearing LLC, Wave Tech Computer LLC, NYBI Trading – FZE, KCL General Trading F Z E, Alinma Group and Al-Omgy & Bros Monday Exchange.

Speaking through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN in New York, United States, the Federal Government hinted that it was about to begin the prosecution of about 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers and was profiling some high-profile Nigerians strongly suspected to be financing terrorism for prosecution.

Recall that the delay in their prosecution and unveiling of the suspects had generated a lot of hoopla and criticism in certain quarters.

But while giving the assurance in the US, the AGF assured that the Federal Government was determined to take stringent measures to counter insurgency in the country.

As a pointer to its readiness, this medium scooped from a reliable source that the AGF office is currently reviewing over one thousand Boko Haram case files out of which 285 have been filed before the Federal High Court based on prima facie cases of terrorism against them.

The delay witnessed in the prosecution process was blamed on the COVID-19 lockdown, Judiciary Staff Union (JUSUN) strike and court vacation.

While assuring further, Malami said,” Time is not ripe for holistic disclosures so as not to pre-empt the investigation process. The prime object remains the attainment of peace and security of our dear nation.

“As far as terrorism funding and financing is concerned, we have succeeded in identifying those that are allegedly responsible for funding same and we are blocking the leakages associated with funding  while embarking on aggressive investigation that is indeed impacting positively in terms of the fight against terrorism.

“The truth of the matter is that the investigation is ongoing and advancing. For the purpose of investigation, I would not like to be pre-emptive in terms of making disclosures that will have the effect of undermining the successes we are recording.

“One thing I can tell you for sure is that whatever we do in terms of detention and arrest is indeed backed-up by judicial processes.

“We have acquired and obtained legitimate court orders taking into consideration the facts and material proof of evidence presented before the court on account of which the court eventually exercises its discretion in terms of granting orders that we can have the suspects in custody pending the conclusion of the investigation,

“Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the Federal Government out of sheer respect for the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence. It is a product of constitutionalism and the law.

“It is rooted in the law and the names of the suspects will accordingly be made public at the point of judicial arraignment while the shaming remains a consequence of judicial conviction.  Trials are a judicial process and not about media sensations.

“Where reasonable grounds are established, suspects must be naturally taken to court at which point their identity must be disclosed and the naming become apparent. Shaming, on the other hand, is the product of conviction at which point the public are equally judicially put on notice.

“In essence, naming and shaming within the context of Nigerian law are judicial functions which commence with arraignment and terminate with convictions. Naming and shaming is not an unguided and unregulated process. It is not like a discarded ship left at the mercy of winds and tides.

Tie back

While baring his mind on the spate of terrorism in the country recently, President Muhammadu Buhari who condemned the act accused culprits who engaged in terrorism financing as those trying to remain relevant.

The President added that most of the people involved are wealthy individuals who are no longer relevant in government, assuring that they would face the law.

Worried by the developments, a few months back, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, hinted that the arrested Bureau De Change operators were allegedly facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Bureaus de change are facilitating money to terrorists. We have already worked with the UAE.

Convictions have been achieved of Nigerians who are transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists and this also happens domestically.

 And I tell you that by the time we finish this investigation, the shocking details will surprise many Nigerians,” Shehu had said.

Amnesty International’s recent claim that the Federal Government was pampering the terrorists rattled the presidency so much that Shehu, the spokesman came out to dismiss the allegation, assuring that government will continue to fight terrorism with all the means at its disposal, no matter the criticism it faces for doing so.

He was quoted as saying, “Amnesty International’s latest salvo at Nigeria is but more of the same.

“Again, they have decided to side with terrorists, before the liberty of those they injure, displace and murder.

“Speaking the language of universal human rights, Amnesty International deploys it only in defence – even outright promotion – of those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, a proscribed terror organisation, they work to legitimise its cause to Western audiences.

“This puts them in bad company. Controversial American lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the same, laundering IPOB’s reputation in Washington DC.

“IPOB murder Nigerian citizens. They kill police officers and military personnel and set government property on fire.

“Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country. Were this group in a western country, you would not expect to hear Amnesty’s full-throated defence of their actions.

“Instead, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justification of western governments’ action to check the spread of ‘terrorism’, the statement reads in part.

The presidential aide also accused Amnesty International of playing local politics in Nigeria.

He said: “Despite Amnesty’s self-proclaimed mandate to impartially transcend borders, unfortunately in Nigeria they play only domestic politics.

“The international NGO is being used as cover for the organisation’s local leaders to pursue their self-interests. Regrettably, this is not uncommon in Africa.

“There is nothing wrong with an activist stance; there are claims of neutrality when all facts point to the opposite.”

According to him, Amnesty International has no legal right to exist in Nigeria, saying it must open a formal investigation into the personnel that occupy their Nigerian offices.

“They should reject the outrageously tendentious misinformation they receive and bring some semblance of due diligence to the sources they base their claims on. Currently, we see none.

“The Nigerian government will fight terrorism with all the means at its disposal.

“We will ignore Amnesty’s rantings, especially when it comes from an organisation that does not hold itself to the same standards it demands of others,’’ he stated.

When it began its onslaught in 2009, the terrorists group whose real name is Jama’atu Ahli is-Sunnah lid-Da’wati wal-Jihad which translates to People of Sunnah for Dawa and Jihad”, said its purpose was to eradicate Western culture, from education to certain behaviour, favouring an entrenchment of Islamist precepts.

So far, it is estimated that over 30,000 have fallen victims of the insurgents’ dastardly act over the years with about 2.4 million people bearing refugee status throughout the Chad Basin.

The humanitarian crisis caused by the war has had socio-economic effects in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.

Founded in 2002 by late Mohammed Yusuf, a preacher, the sect claimed it aimed at eliminating corruption and injustice attributed to Western influence and impose the Shari’a law.

The late Yusuf was arrested in 2009 after a clash between the sects and Nigerian soldiers leading to hundreds of deaths among Boko Haram’s insurgents.

Later, the group fell under Shekau’s control and became an extremely violent Salafi Sunni jihadist organization.

Shekau has invaded and attacked schools, hospitals, military bases, government buildings, churches and international organizations since he started his own campaign. 

In 2015, the group pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State, led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi who later made the group an “enlargement of his Caliphate”.

But after a split among their ranks in 2016,  Abu Musab al-Barnawi, former Boko Haram spokesman and son of founder Yusuf, replaced the alleged violent  Shekau.

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