After almost a year of their convictions by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the names of these six Nigerians finally made it to the global terror watchlist.
On Monday, 13 September 2021, a decision to label 53 persons as terrorist sponsors was reached by the United Arab Emirate’s Federal Cabinet which is synonymous with Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council(FEC).
Among these terrorist sponsors were six Nigerians namely: Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.
These six had been convicted in November 2020 for sponsoring Boko- Haram terrorists, a group known for deadly or murderous activities in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. They have killed tens of thousands of Nigerians and rendered over a million persons homeless.
Similarly, a government official who is yet to be identified was reportedly revealed as one of the key sponsors of the Boko- Haram terrorist group but the Emirates authorities hinted that some powerful forces in the Buhari’s administration were mounting heavy diplomatic pressure to avoid publishing his name.
Road To The Apprehension And Conviction Of The 6 Boko- Haram Sponsors
The six aforementioned names had initially been convicted by a Federal Court of Appeal in Abu Dhabi, UAE before this latest decision. Meanwhile, two of the convicts, Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment while Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf, and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa bagged 10- years imprisonment respectively.
According to Daily Trust, a copy of the Court judgment revealed that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts allegedly made a cash transfer of $782, 000. 00 to members of Boko- Haram.
Although, family members of these six convicts believed that they were framed up submitting that they had been legal bureau de change operators before their eventual arrest in 2019.
The appeal court ruling was a confirmation of an earlier judgement delivered in a lower court which was appealed by the defendants. Based on the judgement, the six convicts were sentenced for financing Boko- Haram terrorists, operating from their abode in Dubai to Nigeria. However, this kind of activity is a huge crime as stipulated under Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Law No 7 of 2017 of their anti-terrorism law.
The journey to their conviction began after the UAE’s National Security Bureau issued an arrest warrant on the convicts following the conclusion of an
an investigation that confirmed that they were not just members of the Boko- Haram terrorist group but were also deeply involved in transferring to them.
Specifically, the convicts were nabbed in their respective homes between April 16 and 17, 2017, and the houses were searched on the former date. Their files were prepared just after the search operation.
On the one hand, Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment for deliberately joining the terror group which is a crime punishable by either death or life imprisonment under Article 22/2 of the Federal Law No 7 of 2017 with regards to anti-terrorism. On the other hand, the quartet of Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf, and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were each given a ten-year sentence for deliberately assisting the terror group which is also a crime punishable by life imprisonment or jail of fewer than five years under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law.
Who Are The Undercover Agents?
According to the news revelation made by Daily Trust, two Boko- Haram undercover agents, Alhaji Sai’ du and Alhaji Ashiru, initiated the transaction that eventually led to the conviction of the six mentioned above.
Sa’ idu who is reportedly based in Nigeria is said to be the major facilitator of funds from the sponsors to the real Boko- Haram fighters. He is allegedly the Senior undercover agent and is currently on the run. Similarly, another agent of the bloodthirsty group, Alhaji Ashiru is allegedly a Nigerian government official and also a senior undercover agent of Boko Haram who uses his position in government to transfer misappropriated funds to the on-field murderers.
Nigeria Version Of Investigation And Conviction Of Boko- Haram Sponsors
About four months ago, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami informed the State House Correspondent that some arrests had been made regarding the sponsors of Boko- Haram terrorists. He revealed that the arrest was possible due to the six Nigerians convicted in UAE for financing terrorism and he promised that an immediate prosecution would be done once the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) who were at that time on strike, called it off.
He also intimated that some highly- placed individuals, businessmen, and institutions were involved in the terrorism financing and he assured Nigerians that no stone will be left unturn until these individuals fave the wrath of the law.
Months go by, Nigerians are still looking forward to a progressive update regarding the case and this has led to some conspiracy theories that the government might have tactically delayed.
” As you well know, sometimes back, there were certain convictions of Nigerians allegedly involved in terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
” That gave rise to a wider and far-reaching investigation in Nigeria and I am happy to report that arising from the wider coverage investigation that has been conducted in Nigeria, a number of people, both institutional and otherwise, were found to be culpable. I mean on reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorism financing, ” he stated
Femi Falana Talks Tough
Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana in his Freedom of Information request gave the Federal Government through the Chief Law Officer, a 7- day ultimatum to furnish his law firm with the information on when charges were brought against the arrested sponsors.
This to him, became imperative after the AGF had initially promised that an immediate prosecution would be carried immediately after JUSUN call off their industrial action which they did long before that time.
” Kindly ensure that we are furnished with the requested information within 7 days of the receipt of this letter in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, ” he concluded
What Stakeholders Are Saying?
” Boys (terrorists) that we arrested mentioned names of people that are in the government now. Some of them are governors, some of them are in the Nigerian Senate, and some of them are ministers. The Department of State Service (DSS) knows them.
” …I have interrogated a high- ranking member of this government on the issue of Boko Haram in 2007/2008 and he was found culpable, ” – Kunle Olawunmi, Ex- Commodore of the Nigerian Navy
” If the Attorney General has already promised and mentioned it to the whole world that the prosecution would start soon, I am surprised that nothing has been done till now.
” I believe that their immediate prosecution will help in the decongestion of prisons because many people are indifferent detention facilities doing nothing. My worry is that many people are subjected to some penal procedures without their application of legal process (court process), ” – Kayode Ajulo, a constitutional lawyer and former Secretary, Labour Party.
Court Finally Speaks
In less than 48hours from now, a Federal High Court in Abuja under the Lordship of Justice Anwuli Chikere. would entertain the case involving 400 suspects arrested for allegedly sponsoring terrorism.
These suspects, mainly Bureau De Change operators were alleged to have been transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists. In other words, some Nigerians were said to be transferring funds to the sect from United Arab Emirates(UAE) in conjunction with the BDC operators.