By Lateef Adegbite
When Lai Mohammed , minister of Information and Culture, revealed that that the Federal government have uncovered 96 persons as financiers of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of west African Province, ISWAP, he may have had at the back of his mind that Nigerians, particular, people of the north east , geopolitical region would applaud him. He go it wrong.
Ever since he broke the cheering news, he has been under intense pressure from different parts of the country to name the terrorists Organization financiers instead of keeping Nigerians guessing. Emmanuel Ojukwu, a former Commissioner of Police and one-time police spokesperson, during Mohammed Adamu , Administration as Inspector General of Police, IGP who could not hide his feelings had said that the Nigerian government must save the people the trouble of keeping secret the names of those financing terrorism in the country.
He has told those that care to listen that President Muhammadu Buhari Administration is ‘’trying to keep the names of the 96 sponsors and financiers of BokoHaram and ISWAP, a closely guided secret for political reasons because they are their allies and Colleagues’’.
There is a lot of Compromise, the former Police Commissioner insists. He noted that this is not the first time the government , both at the state and Federal level ,had said that they know the sponsor and Financiers of BokoHaram and ISWAP, but nothing came out of it.He has challenged Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Attorney General and minister of Justice and Usman Alkali Baba, Inspector General of Police, IGP, ‘’to get the alleged 96 sponsors and Financiers of BokoHaram and ISAP arrested , prosecute them and get behind bars’’ , stressing that Nigerians do not even need to know the names of these individuals that linked with the BokoHaram and ISWAP , terrorists Organizations.
An aggrieved Ojukwu, who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’it is not enough to tell Nigerians that certain number of terrorism sponsors and Financiers have been uncovered’’. He maintains that there is nothing stopping the Authorities , particular, Nigerian Financial and Intelligence Unit, NFIU, an agency of the ministry of Customs, which had carried out the investigation that had exposed the Organizations sponsors and Financiers, from ‘’releasing the names’.
The NFIU, had reported that that the BokoHaram and ISWAP alone in Nigeria, had 424 associates/ supporters of the financial involvement of 133 Companies including 33 bureau de change, licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to trade of Forex. The agency had further reported that the two terroriss Organisations which had had brought much hardship to the people of the north east states of Adamawa, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar home state, Borno, home state of Yusuf Buratai, a retired Lt. General and former Chief of Army State and now Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic and yobe state. Note that Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser is also from Borno state.
The NFIU, had stated in its report which was copiously quoted by Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, while addressing the press, on Thursday, February 3, 2022, that the two major terrorists Groups , operating in the north east , over the last two decades, obtained fraudulently through the 133 Companies and 33 bureau de change including the uncovered 96 other sponsors and Financiers the amount totaling $103,722,83, #3,000 and 7,695 singaporean dollars and 1,091 Euros. More worrisome was the NFIU, revelation that the the Organisations , equally had ‘’intelligence exchanges with 19 foreign countries. Just as the Nigerian Authorities are under pressure to disclose the identities of the 96 individuals involved in sponsoring and financing BokoHaram and ISWAP, Nigerians would also want the government to named the Foreign countries with link with link to the wo terrorist Groups operating in the north eas statet including the names of the bureau de change operators.
Many believe that it is not enough for the officials of the CBN ‘’,to claim that with the ammunition given to the apex Bank by the NFIU, to sanction the 133 Companies and 33 bureau de change that have link with the terrorists Organisations that it has done so’’. They have every reason to doubt th apex Bank because the 2023 general elections is just as around the corner.