FG in bold step lists terrorist funders, N57b linked to Nigerian big men

FG in bold step list names of BDCs funding terrorist groups

Over N57billion released to terrorists by Nigerian big men

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu and Omolade Adegbuyi

For the first time since terrorism reared its head in Nigeria, the Federal Government has named Bureau De Change, (BDCs) providing millions of dollars for terrorists.

They are also linked to the forex scam and speculations, which continue to rupture the strength of the Naira in the global market.

Experts have argued that terrorism in Nigeria is big business and that some politicians and business men fund terrorists using them as negotiation chips to control and retain political power in the country.

Fiften of such illicit groups plus another six Bureau De Change operators and firms have been discovered to fund terrorists.

The discovery is said to have gladden the international community that have expressed worry concerning complicity of past governments in Nigeria.

“President Tinubu has opened a new chapter in Nigerian history. This is the first time real effort is being made to get to terrorism roots in Nigeria,” a diplomat who does not wish to be named told Irohinoodua in Abuja.

He said President Tinubu has made Nigeria to “cross a huge hurdle” that past governments have refused or unable to cross.

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU) in a note captioned “Designation of Individuals and Entities for March 18, 2024,” showed Nigeria Sanctions Committee met on March 18, 2024, where specific individuals and entities were recommended for sanction following their involvement in terrorism financing.

It stated “The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, with the approval of the President, has thereupon designated the following individuals and entities to be listed on the Nigeria Sanctions List,” the document read in part.

Some of the terrorist backers are a Kaduna-based publisher, Tukur Mamu, who is facing charges preferred against him by the Nigerian authorities.

He is linked to the Abuja-Kaduna train in March 2022 an indication that blood thirsty terrorists operating in Nigeria have the backing of influential and rich Nigerians.

Mamu was said to have “participated in the financing of terrorism by receiving and delivering ransome payments over the sum of $200,000 US in support of ISWAP terrorists for the release of hostages of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.”

One of the individuals is “the suspected attacker of the St. Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State on June 5, 2022 and the Kuje Correctional Center, Abuja on July 5, 2022.”

The statement said “a member of the terrorist group Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladissudam, the group is associated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

“The subject was trained and served under Muktar Belmokhtar, aka One Eyed Out, led Al-Murabtoun Katibat of AQIM in Algeria and Mali.”

The NFIU said the individual “specialises in designing terrorist clandestine communication code and he is also Improvised Explosive Device expert.

“The subject was also a gate keeper to ANSARU leader, Mohammed Usman aka Khalid Al-Bamawi. Equally, he was a courier and travel guide to AQIM Katibat in the desert of Algeria and Mali. He is into carpentry. Subject fled Kuje correctional centre on July 5, 2022. He is currently at large.”

There was also “a senior commander of the Islamic State of West Africa Province Okene.”

The agency said, the individual “came into limelight in 2012 as North Central wing of Boko Haram.

“The group is suspected of the attacks carried out around Federal Capital Territory and the South West Geographical Zone, including the June 5, 2022 attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State.”

Another was described as “a financial courier to ISWAP Okene. She is responsible for the disbursement of funds to the widows/wives of the terrorist fighters of the group.”

The individuals in 2015, transferred N60m to terrorism convicts apart from receiving a sum of N189m between 2016 and 2018.

The cartel also own entities and business reported in the UAE court judgment as facilitating the transfer of terrorist funds from Dubai to Nigeria.

The Ontelligence Unit said he received a total of N57m from between 2014 and 2017 and noted a total inflow of N61.4 bn and a total outflow of N51.7bn from his accounts.

The document quoted Section 54 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, institutions and individuals are required to:

“(a) immediately, identify and freeze, without prior notice, all funds, assets, and any other economic resources belonging to the designated persons and entities in your possession and report same to the Sanctions Committee;

“(b) report to the Sanctions Committee any assets frozen or actions taken in compliance with the prohibition requirements.

“(c) immediately file a Suspicious Transactions Report to the NFIU for further analysis on the financial activities of such an individual or entity; and

“(d) report as a Suspicious Transactions Report to the NFIU, all cases of name matching in financial transactions prior to or after receipt of this List. ”

It said the “The freezing obligation required above shall extend to

“(a) all funds or other assets that are owned or controlled by the designated persons and entities, and not only those that are tied to a particular act, plot, or threat of terrorism or terrorism financing;

“(b) those funds or other assets that are wholly or jointly owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by designated persons or entities;

The nine individuals under sanctions are

  1. Tukur Mamu
  2. Yusuf Ghazali
  3. Muhammad Sani
  4. Abubakar Muhammad
  5. Sallamudeen Hassan
  6. Adamu Ishak
  7. Hassana-Oyiza Isah
  8. Abdulkareem Musa,
  9. Umar Abdullahi

The six BDCs and firms are

  1. West and East Africa General Trading Company Limited
  2. Settings Bureau De Change Limited
  3. G. Side General Enterprises
  4. Desert Exchange Ventures Limited
  5. Eagle Square General Trading Company Limited
  6. Alfa Exchange BDC.

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