The federal government has released a security report linking the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho), with Boko Haram financing.
It also detailed the acts of terrorism by the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
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The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), at a press briefing on Friday, where he presented the findings of the presidential ad-hoc committee investigating the activities of the leader of the IPOB/Eastern Security Network (ESN) and cohorts, vowed to, within the context of law, ensure that those found guilty were prosecuted.
Malami said the federal government had received the report on financiers of Igboho, which indicated that he is a director and signatory to Adesun International Concept Limited, registered on April 23, 2010 with Oladele Oyetunji and Aderopo Adeyemo as directors.
He said the report also linked Igboho to 43 accounts in nine banks, adding that his major financier was found to be a federal lawmaker.
Like what President Muhammadu Buhari did during his speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary, Malami did not also give the name of the legislator sponsoring Igboho.
The minister of Justice said Investigation revealed that Adesun International Concept Ltd (belonging to Igboho) transferred the sum of N12, 750,000 to Abbal Bako & Sons.
“It might be recalled that Abbal Bako & Sons and its promoter Abdullahi Umar Usman are suspects in the on-going joint terrorist financing investigation. Abdullahi Umar Usman is by way of financial transaction connected to Surajo Abubakar Muhammad who was sentenced to life imprisonment in UAE on charges of financing terrorism (Boko Haram).
Daily Trust reports that Usman was among hundreds of Bureau de Change (BDC) operators arrested in March this year in a nationwide crackdown.
“This report shows the nexus between separatists’ agitation, terrorism financing and disruptions of peace in the country.
According to Malami, “The report found connections of financial transaction between Adesun International Concept Ltd (belonging to Igboho) and some construction companies and businesses among others.
“A total sum of N127,145, 000 was received by Igboho from his financiers between October 22, 2013 and September 28, 2020 through Adesun International Concept Ltd accounts.”
The AGF revealed that a total sum of N273, 198,200 transaction outflows was recorded from Igboho’s account between March 15, 2013 and March 11, 2021, and that investigations revealed that Adesun Concept Ltd transferred the sum of N12.7m to Abbal Bako & Sons.
“Having received the reports, the federal government remains resolute in its determination to have a peaceful Nigeria. The federal government will do the needful within the context of the legal provisions in ensuring that the matter is given the deserved attention, and those found guilty will be made to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
Mum on Igboho’s lawmaker sponsor
In the report, Malami, however, did not name the lawmaker alleged to be sponsoring the separatist agitations in the country despite mentioning the transfer of N127.1m to Igboho.
The media aide to the AGF, Dr Umar Gwandu, did not respond to WhatsApp messages and calls put to him on the identity of the lawmaker and the status of the accounts traced to Igboho.
Our reporter also made effort to get the report Malami made reference to but could not.
We challenge FG to name Igboho’s lawmaker sponsor – Lawyer
However, the lead counsel to Igboho, Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN), has challenged the federal government to mention the name of the lawmaker sponsoring his client.
He said his client was a businessman and not a terrorist.
Alliyu, who stated this while speaking with reporters in Ibadan yesterday, explained that the alleged transfer of N12.7 million to Abbal Bako & Sons were mere conjectures.
He said, “Transferring money to bureau de change to buy dollars is what is done by every businessman of our client’s calibre. Thank God that his passports and various bills of ladings were carted away by the DSS during the ungodly invasion of July 1, 2021.
“Thus, so far there is no evidence of receipt of money from Abbal Bako & Sons or Abdullahi Umar going by the text conference, what the AGF stated are mere conjectures.
“Our client, according to him, paid Umar and not vice versa, thus belying what the AGF earlier said, that Chief Sunday Adeyemo is being financed by people. The picture the learned AGF wanted to paint is that our client is being financed by Abdullah Umar, allegedly involved in terrorists financing. Who is now financing who?
“Again, Chief Adeyemo is a car dealer trading in the name of Adesun International Concept Ltd. Does it mean that anybody buying car from him or selling car to him is a terrorist?
“Chief Adeyemo was not into Oodua nation until last year, so finding over N273m turnover between October 2013 and September 2020 shows that he was not a poor man. His house invaded by the DSS on July 1, 2020 is worth over N2 billion.
“I challenge the AGF to mention the lawmaker that sent money to Adeyemo for terrorist act, whether he would not be damnified in exemplary damages for defamation.
“Up till date, our client has not been prosecuted or found liable for any criminal act or terrorism. There is also a valid and subsisting court judgement that agitation for self-determination is not an act of terrorism but fundamental human right of any citizen.
“My learned brother knows that suspicion, no matter how great, cannot grant conviction. Chief Adeyemo is not a terrorist but a campaigner for self-determination,” he said.
Speaking on the evidence showcased by Malami, a financial intelligence, expert who doesn’t want to be named, said, “The parallel is very weak and pedestrian. They need to tell us more.
“Even the turnover in Igboho’s account doesn’t entails criminality….rather they should tell us their findings about the source and application of funds from the account.”
One of the lawyers to the BDC suspects, Ali Jamilu, said the action of the government amounts to media trial as the courts have not established links between suspects arrested in Nigeria with those sponsoring terrorism in UAE.
He said transactions which took place before the UAE conviction and appellate court affirmation amounted to legitimate business.
“Not everybody knows that what those people convicted in Dubai were doing was sponsorship of terrorism. It is not for the government to come out and just arrest and accuse people of being linked to sponsorship of terrorism,” he said.
A lawyer in Kano, Aminu Ibrahim Zakari, said the federal government should do more work to establish the link if there was any.
“While we cannot rule out anything, many people would like to know more because some of the BDC operators are just victims of circumstances. They were in the business without taking note of the hazards involved. They buy and sell the dollar and other currencies just the way people go to market to buy foodstuff. They don’t care to ask details of their clients. They also receive monies on behalf of their clients without verifying the source. The only thing they are after is the gain,” he said.
‘How Kanu’s IPOB killed 175 security personnel, torched 164 police stations’
We’ll respond after studying report – Kanu’s lawyers
The AGF Malami also yesterday spoke on the outlawed IPOB leader, Kanu.
The federal government had on Thursday re-arraigned Kanu on a seven-count charge of treasonable felony and terrorism before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The fresh charge followed his arrest and extradition from Kenya after he allegedly jumped bail.
Kanu, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) against his wish of the Nigerian Correctional Custodial Centre.
Malami said the threat to national security by the destructive activities of the IPOB and its military arm, ESN, led to President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration of the 24-member panel.
He said the panel found out that Kanu, who was granted bail by a court in Abuja on April 25, 2017, breached the conditions and fled abroad, where he “intensified his subversive campaign, using online Radio Biafra” to incite members of the IPOB/ESN to carry out massive attacks on democratic institutions, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), offices with a view to hampering democratic process in Nigeria.
He said the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 played into the sinister plans of Kanu, whereby he seized the protests through subversive and inciting online broadcasts and actively commanded and directed attacks on security personnel and facilities.
He said the panel found out “That 175 security personnel were killed by the IPOB/ESN, comprising 128 policemen, 37 military personnel and10 other security operatives”
He said the IPOB was also fingered in the gruesome killings of traditional leaders: Obi 1 of Okwudor autonomous community, Eze E. Anayochukwu Durueburuo and Eze Sampson Osunwa of Ihebineowerre autonomous community, as well as Dr Chike Akunyili, eight others, and Alhaji Ahmed Gulak on May 30.
“That as a consequence of Nnamdi Kanu’s broadcasts, there were 19 attacks on INEC facilities that resulted in the destruction of offices, as well as burning of 18 logistics vehicles, several election materials, equipment and information and communication technology gadgets in Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states.
Malami said164 police stations and formations, including police headquarters in Owerri, Imo State, were attacked by the IPOB/ESN, leading to the death of 128 policemen, with 144 injured, while 628 vehicles were destroyed.
He added that 396 firearms and 17,738 ammunition were carted away during the IPOB/ESN attacks, with three of them on the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), including its headquarters in Owerri, where 1,841inmates escaped.
The AGF stated that the attack on the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Umuahia, Abia State by the IPOB/ESN led to the death of one officer;
Foreign and local sponsorship
Malami said the panel established that Kanu had accomplices in Nigeria and abroad that “aided his activities as a fugitive.”
“We call on these countries to desist from aiding subversive acts by Kanu and the IPOB against Nigeria and its people. Conversely, there are some friendly countries, which, recognising the status of the IPOB as a terrorist organisation, have either banned its activities or placed Kanu on Stop List. To these peace-loving countries that have put Kanu on their Stop Lists and banned the IPOB from operating in their territories, we express our appreciation,” Malami stated.
Efforts to get more details on those the federal government said were sponsoring Kanu, AGF’s spokesman Dr Umar Gwandu did not pick his calls and did not respond to text messages up till the time of going to the press.
Reacting to the report, the special counsel to Kanu, Aloy Ejimakor, said they were still studying the report and would respond if necessary.
“We are still studying the press release to determine whether it deserves a reaction or not. And if it does, then we shall decide the nature of such reaction and the appropriate forum to ventilate,” Ejimakor said.
John Chuks Azu, Baba Martins & Jeremiah Oke