By Bode Olushegun
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, said that for the first time in eleven years the financing of terrorism in the North East was tracked.
The governor was reacting to media reports that six Nigerians were convicted by the government of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) for wiring funds to the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
The governor, in a statement on Tuesday by his spokesperson, Mallam Isa Gusau, asked the federal government to deploy multi-stakeholder team in follow-up.
He said the team should also explain the searchlight on the discovery.
The statement read: “Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is glad that for the first time in 11 years, there appears to be headway on tracking some alleged financiers of Boko Haram’s activities which have left thousands of citizens killed, millions displaced and private property and public institutions worth 9 billion dollars destroyed in Borno, and other parts of the northeast and Nigeria at large.
“An Abu Dhabi appeal court had upheld conviction of some Nigerians for allegedly supplying almost N300m to fund Boko Haram. The convicts, according to the court, allegedly used bureau de change operations to send $782,000 to Boko Haram in 17 separate transfers from Dubai to Nigeria between 2015 and 2016.”
The governor, in the statement, acknowledged and respected the rights of families of those convicted who, according to the media report, raised questions on the UAE court judgment, maintaining that the convicts were innocent of the charges.
Zulum, in the statement, urged the Federal Government to consider setting up a multi-stakeholder team with trusted representatives from the Federal Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, NIA, the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA, the Multinational Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad, and the ECOWAS Intergovernmental Action Group on Terrorism Financing in West Africa, GIABA, to assiduously work with the UAE Government to look into the issues raised by families crying foul play.
He said more importantly, the government should “follow-up on the findings by the UAE with the hope of using the intelligence, if authenticated, to expand search on other Boko Haram sponsors that may be helping in similar ways.”
The Governor, who in February, and October this year, declared two days of statewide fasting and prayers against Boko Haram and their sponsors, urged the people of Borno to sustain prayers to God to expose all sponsors of Boko Haram and anyone who knowingly benefits from the crisis at the expense of peace in the State.
The 22nd report of the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team had identified charitable donations, extortion, smuggling and ransom remittances from kidnapping as some of the ways through which Boko Haram raises funds.