By Stephen Ubanna
The arrest and subsequent prosecution of six Nigerians over alleged funding of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, okoHaram, and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, a 2016, splinter group of the Original BokoHaram, founded By Abuabakar Shekau, in the United Arab Emirate, UAE, between 2015 and 2020, may have encouraged President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, C-In-C, to mobilise the country security Operatives and Intelligence agencies personnel to go after the financiers of the financiers of the insurgents in their different locations both within and outside the country and fish them out .
Until they were sentenced in a Court of Law in Dubai, in 2020, the suspects were said to have transferred $782,000 from Dubai to the two insurgent Groups in Nigeria to help them in procuring equipment and other logistic supports. Indeed the Katsina state born Nigerian President may have seen it as a Challenge as he moved into action using his military background to fish out the insurgents financiers both within and outside the country.
Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation had said that the hunt for the Financiers by of the two terrorists Group became heightened ‘’amid attacks coming from BokoHaram, ISWAP, non-state actors and other perpetrators of violent Crimes in different parts of the country’’.
Many of the suspects were said to have been lured into the country from their UAE base with Juicy appointments and Contracts and they fell for it as they were promptly arrested on arrival into the country. The security Operatives may have kept their operation to fish out those BokoHaram and ISWAP Financiers a closely guided secret to avoid given others room to turn down invitation by the government or go underground within the country to escape arrest.
Between 2020 and now, no fewer than 400 persons were said to have been arrested for allegedly funding the Insurgent Groups operating in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe with the active Collaboration with the rebels in the northern region of the neighbouring West African country of TChad, who are armed with the stolen weapons from the north African country of Libya. The exposure and arrest of the BokoHaram and ISWAP finaciers appears to be causing ripples in the polity., who are mostly highly placed Nigerians, businessmen and some Bureax ‘De Charge, Operators bear eloquent testimony to why the Counter –insurgency war had dragged on to over a decade.
As a prelude to the planned prosecution of the suspects, Malami, minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation who was said to have been very happy about the arrest of some Bureax ‘De change, Operators, particular, who were said to have been involved in facilitating the transfer of money to the Shekau funded BokoHaram and the splinter ISWAP Group had hinted of government plans to prosecute the suspects last April but that was how far he could go.
Unknown to these pundits who believe that the minister may have soft pedaled in going ahead with the prosecution of the suspects, they may not have read his body language to know what he is doing which was very revealing.the Nigerian Attorney General may have shocked Nigerians when he said that ‘’the investigation on the suspects have been on – going for years and have reached advance stage’’ where he could beat his chest that the suspects are in trouble and will not escape into thin air again.
The government may have delayed in dragging the arrested BokoHaram and ISWAP 400 financiers to court because it was said to have been occupied in initiating the processes of prosecuting those high-profile individuals who were said to be well connected in the Crime official circles, the minister had said.
Based on their findings, he had come out to tell Nigerians on Friday, May 7, 2021, he had confirmed that highly placed Nigerians and businessmen were actually involved in financing the north east insurgents for their own pecuniary gains. Hear him: I am happy to report that arriving from wider coverage investigation that has been conducted in the country that a number of people both institutional and other otherwise were culpable.
He may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he confirmed that ‘’the strongly suspected financiers of the two terrorist Groups operating in Nigerian were already being profiled for prosecution’’. Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, had corroborated the Federal Attorney General’s views on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, when he said that the Buhari Administration’’ is to prosecute the 400 arrested and detained suspects allegedly funding the BokoHaram and ISWAP insurgents’’.
Lai Mohammed , the minister of Information and Culture, who could not hide his feelings had said that the prosecution of the 400 suspected financiers of the insurgency in the north east Geo-political region, clearly shows that the Katina state state born Nigerian President is working round the clock ‘’to decisively tackle the problem of insurgency, Banditry , kidnapping and other violent Crimes in the country’’.
This may have informed why he had urged Nigerians irrespective of their political divide ‘’to support the security agencies personnel, who face the onerous task of having to watch their backs while working to protect others’’. He was said to have also assured of the Nigerian President’s commitment ‘’ in tackling the menace of insurgency, Banditry and other security threats across the country’’ at all costs.
According to him, the retired General led All Progressive Congress , APC, government ‘’has the capacity to crush BokoHaram and ISWAP, insurgents in the north east and Banditry in the north west states of Zamfara, described as a hime of the Bandits, Kaduna, Katsina, home state of Buhari and Niger, a state that had produced two former Nigerian Leaders.
The two former Leaders produced by the state were Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General, who gave himself the title of a military President but, however, forced out of power through repeated protests by Nigerians for annulling the June 1993 election, described as Free and Fair and Abdusalami Abubakar, also retired Army General and a military Head of state, who had pioneered the country’s nascent Democracy.
Reacting to news making the rounds that the Buhari Administration has been overwhelmed by the crisis in the country as Championed by the Opposition Peopl’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chieftains, particular, Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state and one-time Senate President, the Kwara state state born politician insists that Buhari is committed ‘’to restoring Law, order and peace and security in the country’’.
He had said the country has’’ the wherewithal to confront the challenges of insurgency, Banditry, kidnapping and other violent Crimes headlong and restore Law ,order, peace and security, across the country’’. He noted that being a Democratically elected government, it had restrained them from using ‘’the instruments of coercion against the insurgents and Bandits who most often than not operate among the populace, either in the villages, or towns’’ stressing that this had informed why the country’s military which have’’ superior fire power over the rag tag band of BokoHaram and ISWAP are careful to avoid Collateral damage’’.
He may have shocked desperate Nigerians who want an end to the insecurity situation of the country when he said that it is not the ‘’Location of the kidnappers are not yet known to the security operatives but they have to exercise caution to avoid the same Children they have been mandated to rescue’’.
He unequivocally condemned the practice of launching attacks against the nation’s security personnel by the Crimnal elents in different parts of the country. He had cited the recent killing of soldiers, policemen and Customs personnel at their various checkpoints in Rivers state by suspected members of the Eastern Security Network ESN, which is the armed wing of the Court proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOD. The killing of the security operatives in the south-south state may have forced Nyesom Wike, the governor to speak out, that the state cannot be forced into secession by any Group. He may have alluded to IPOD.
The insecurity situation in the northern part of the country which had spread into the southern states may have informed why the 17 governors from the south east, south-south and south west states, in the southern of part of the country, irrespective of political divide had gathered at Asaba, Capital of Delta state on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, to deliberate on the situation.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, APC, governor of Lagos state and political aly of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and APC National Leader, popular, Jagaban, had said the meeting is an intervention by the governors ‘’to jointly brainstorm and address the burning issues in the southern part of the country’’. The governors were said to have critically evaluated the current insecurity situation in the region and its implications and the country in general , and ‘’the long –term solutions so as to keep the region safe and secure for the Citizens’’.
Perhaps, to avoid a repeat of what is happening in the north central state of Bnue, where the herdsmen aremaking life miserable for the people of the state and the ecent attack on Samuel Ortom, a former minister of state, Trade and Investment , during Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, who is having a running battle with armed herdsmen, may have forced the southern governors to ban open gazing of cattle across the 17 southern state.
They may have sent a message to Buhari that tall is not well and therefore the need to restructure the country in order to address the increasing agitations in different parts of the country . The governors were said to have him that there was cause for alarm as their Commitment to the unity of the country remain unshaken. The southern governors Tuesday, May 11, 2021, meeting had come on the heels of the Nigerian president and the northern governors recent meeting over the heightened insecurity situation in the region.
Interestingly, in the last one month, the Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, has been holding series of security meetings with the service Chiefs and other security chiefs in a bid to find a lasting solution to the insecurity situation of the country.