*Tasks FG to deploy multi-stakeholder team to follow-up, expand searchlight
By Melvin Uche, Maiduguri
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 has left thousands of citizens killed, millions displaced and private property and public institutions worth $9 billion destroyed in Borno, other parts of the northeast and Nigeria at large.
Zulum’s message, contained in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, was in reaction to Monday’s news story “6 Nigerians Convicted in UAE Over ‘Boko Haram Funding”.
The story detailed how an Abu Dhabi appeal court 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 Borno Governor however said he acknowledges and respects the rights of families of those convicted who, according to the cover story, have raised questions on the UAE court judgment.
Zulum “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 Inter-governmental 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, and more importantly, to 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 state-wide fasting and prayers against Boko Haram and their sponsors, urged the people of Borno to sustain prayers for 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.