The Federal Government through the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit has announced the existence of 96 secret financiers of terrorism across the country especially those backing Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). The discovery by the government agency also includes 424 associates and supporters of the financiers of these terrorist activities.
This was made known by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, during a press conference on President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s fight against corruption on Thursday, February 3, in Abuja.
Mohammed in his statement said that the government also uncovered 123 companies and 33 bureau de change operators linked with terrorism in the country, in addition to 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and 7 co-conspirators who have now been identified.
What the Minister of Information and Culture is saying
Mohammed said the analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets adding that the NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping, and others with 19 countries.
The statement from Lai Mohammed partly reads, ‘’For its part, the analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and 7 co-conspirators.
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‘’The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets. Also, from its analysis of tax evasion and tax avoidance linked to corruption, NFIU has identified N3,909,707,678,112.43 in VAT and N3,737,918,335,785.82 in Withholding.
‘’Tax due to the Government. NFIU has also sent 1,165 intelligence reports on cases of corruption, money laundering and other serious offences to 27 domestic agencies for investigation, prosecution and asset recovery.
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‘’On terrorism financing, NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries. During the same period, 2020-2021, the organization returned fraudulently-obtained funds totalling US$103,722,102.83, 3,000 Pound Sterling; 7,695 Singapore Dollar and 1,091 Euros to 11 countries of victims who came into the country.’’
What you should know
- Recall that in May 2021, the Federal Government had announced that it had begun profiling for prosecution, well-placed Nigerians suspected to be financiers of terrorism in the country.
- The government had earlier said it will arraign 400 suspects arrested for funding Boko Haram insurgents and bandits.
- The suspects were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
- The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, revealed that investigations conducted established reasonable evidence of the involvement of some highly placed individuals, businessmen, and institutions across Nigeria in financing insurgency in the North East.
- In a related development, in September 2021, the UAE authorities named 6 Nigerians as financiers of terrorist organizations including the Boko Haram sect and other criminal activities.
- The 6 persons mentioned had been previously tried and sentenced in UAE with various prison terms after a federal appeals court upheld their convictions for funding the terrorist groups.