6 Nigerians Convicted In UAE Over Boko Haram Funding, FG Official Indicted
The convicts, according to Daily Trust, were tried and convicted in 2019. The appellate court after they lost an earlier appeal at a lower court.
Two of the convicts identified as Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment, while <spanIbrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, got ten-year imprisonment each.
Court documents show that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were allegedly involved in cash transfers totaling $782,000 (over N299 million) to Boko Haram.
The act is said to be contrary to Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017.
However, families of those affected said the victims were “framed up” considering that they had been doing legitimate bureau de change businesses for a long time.
Over the years, funding of Boko Haram sect had remained a mystery, sparking various speculations. However, this was probably the first time certain individuals were accused of funding the sect outside the shores of Nigeria.
UAE National Security Agency said investigation of the Nigerians “confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram”.
They were arrested between April 16 and 17, 2017, and their homes searched according to the search warrant issued by National Security Prosecution office dated April 16, 2017.
The first and second convicts were said to have been charged for joining the Boko Haram group in Nigeria knowingly, which is a crime punishable under Article 22/2 of the Federal Law No 7 of 2017, with regards to anti-terrorism punishable by death or life imprisonment.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth convicts were charged with assisting the terror group knowingly, which is a crime under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, and is punishable by life imprisonment or jail for not less than five years under the UAE law.
Most of the transactions were facilitated by two undercover Boko Haram agents based in Nigeria.
One of them is identified as “Alhaji Sa’idu” while the other named “Alhaji Ashiru” was described as “a Nigerian government official”.
Sa’idu’s modus operandi is using unidentified Arab persons on a visit to Dubai from Turkey to hand over US Dollars to one of the convicts, who then remit Naira equivalent to the agent.
Reacting to this, the Attorney – General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the Federal Government was aware of the matter and had written the UAE seeking records of proceedings but was yet to get feedback.
Malami also denied that allegations by families of some of the convicts that different FG agencies including the ministry of justice failed to come to their aid.
Nigerian government has written firstly for copies of the proceedings, which will give us the opportunity to see whether justice was done or not. And on whether they have committed the crime, we requested to know who and who are involved so that the Nigerian government will know what to do next.
Nigerian government is working but it doesn’t have the exclusive control, it has to rely on the information provided by UAE. So, it is not in control of the speed of response or action.
The AGF added;
We are working on both the issues that they did not receive a fair hearing and that they were alleged to have supported Boko Haram activities.
Speaking about the alleged undercover agents who are said to be at large, Malami said the FG has instructed all the associated agencies including the financial intelligence unit to profile the allegation.
Since the relationship involves issues of money between Nigeria and UAE, the Nigerian government has equally instructed the existing agencies of government to embark on an investigation on that and we have gone far.
We await further intelligence from the UAE, which has relevance to the conviction and trial in order to do what we can as a follow-up to take the next line of action.
Credit: Daily Trust.