Along with many other individuals and groups Emmanuel Onwubiko the national coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the federal government of shielding persons responsible for financing terrorism in Nigeria. He said, quite correctly, that Nigerians have the right to know who is making life unbearable for them, and concluded by saying that the secrecy surrounding exposing the identities of terror sponsors is a pointer to the fact that there are skeletons in the cupboard.
Renowned legal luminary Femi Falana asks government to “stop deceiving” Nigerians over the matter because their penchant for parading suspects in robbery and internet fraud cases seems to disappear when it comes to parading suspected financiers of terror. Falana penned a “freedom of information” request seeking an update on the postponed arraignment of identified suspects, but as is usual with requests under the Freedom of Information Act no information was released. Instead Dr Umar Gwandu a spokesman for the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) said the identities of the suspects would be revealed in court!
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The official reason given for the non-prosecution of terror sponsors at the time was that court workers were on strike. Eight months after the judiciary workers called off their strike no arraignment has taken place!
More than 10,000 Nigerians were killed by terrorists in 2021 and it’s difficult to comprehend why government prevaricates on revealing and prosecuting their sponsors. This is a disservice to humanity because it’s on record that both the intelligence community and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government have provided names.
According to court proceedings in the UAE there is a “Nigerian government official and senior undercover member of Boko Haram” who facilitated the transfer of misappropriated public funds to the group. Perhaps this is why government refuses to act with dispatch. Even more condemnable is the fact that in 2020 six Boko Haram sponsors were convicted in the UAE for funding terrorism through money transfers from Dubai. Two of the convicts were jailed for life while the rest received prison sentences of up to 10 years. Apparently overseas governments care more about the welfare of Nigerians than the Nigerian government!
The Convener of the Coalition in Defense of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution Dare Ariyo-Atoye says the refusal of government to act promptly is an indictment of their administration. He is one of many who believe that authorities are doing significantly more to cover the terrorist sponsors than to unearth and prosecute them.
It doesn’t require any special process to charge such suspects since their details and the transactions made are readily available. Government spokespersons are struggling to disclaim the only conclusion which can be drawn from this, which the general public is beginning to accept, that there are skeletons in government official’s cupboards.
Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe the President of the Association of Bureaux de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has expressed concern over the continued detention of his members without due process. He denies the accusation that BDC operators have been facilitating the foreign exchange requirements of terror sponsors. Gwadabe said ABCON is a self-regulatory body with zero tolerance for non-compliance with anti-money laundering laws. As far as he is concerned government should name, shame and prosecute terrorism sponsors whoever they may be.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dele Ologunagba says this administration has no moral right to play games with the identities of terrorism sponsors while hundreds of innocent law-abiding Nigerian citizens are murdered daily and thousands annually.
Regrettably, Nigeria has become a country where abnormalities reign with impunity. The nation’s seemingly irredeemable woes are transparent to everyone except those within the corridors of power. According to maligned Financial Times journalist David Pilling, this administration has “sleepwalked closer to disaster” presiding over two terms of calamitous increase in kidnapping and banditry – the one thing you might have thought a former general could control.
To all intents and purposes it’s too late for this administration to turn the nation’s fortunes around. The fact is that only truth and justice will uplift the nation to greater heights.
Next year Nigerians have the opportunity to install an administration whose energies won’t be directed towards preserving its privileges, but towards the primary task of providing security of lives and property. All that needs to be done is to show some love of humanity and consideration for the rights of the poor and needy by containing terrorism through arrest and prosecution of suspects.