Nigeria singles out terrorism sponsors as insurgency war intensifies

Nigerian soldiers

Nigerian soldiers patrolling in the north of Borno state close to a Islamist extremist group Boko Haram former camp near Maiduguri.

Photo credit: AFP

Abuja,  

As the war against terrorism gathers momentum in Nigeria, the government has officially identified 96 financiers of terrorism wiring money through 123 companies and 33 foreign exchange bureaus.

Information minister Lai Mohammed also named 26 bandits and seven co-conspirators linked to financing terrorism.

Mr Mohammed’s briefing on Thursday came as Nigeria deployed more sophisticated weapons, including A29 Super Tucanos and J17 fighter jets, to tackle insurgents and bandits.

The minister said 424 entities linked to terrorism were identified as 45 suspects were arrested and are lined up for prosecution.

“Analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in 2020-2021 revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and 7 co-conspirators.”

Federal government

The NFIU, the minister said, identified $16.8 billion in value added tax (VAT), and withholding tax (WHT) hidden from the federal government between 2020 and 2021.

“NFIU has also sent 1,165 intelligence reports on cases of corruption, money laundering and other serious offences to 27 domestic agencies for investigation, prosecution and asset recovery…”

The minister also disclosed that the deployment of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) to verify the federal government’s payroll on the IPPIS platform had led to the detection of 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries.

“It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult tasks for any government is to fight corruption, because when you fight corruption, corruption will fight you back! This explains why naysayers have continued to belittle or dismiss the administration’s anti-corruption efforts,” he said.

Fighting corruption

“Let me say here that fighting corruption is a marathon, and never a sprint.

“Also, investigations, arrests, prosecutions and asset forfeiture – which are the immediate, visible indices by which many measure success in tackling corruption – as important as they are, constitute just a part of the strategies to combat corruption.’’

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen Faruk Yahaya has lauded Nigerian troops for their resilience, commitment and sacrifice in the ongoing fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the northeast.

The activities of the insurgents have led to the deaths of more than 129,000 people in northeastern Nigeria since 2009.

Army spokesman Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Thursday, said Lt-Gen Yahaya had commended the troops when he visited them that day in Buratai and Biu in Borno state.

He urged the troops to be more vigilant, adding that with discipline and commitment, the war in the northeast would be won.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s minister for police affairs Maigari Dingyadi reported that the government was committed to enhancing security.

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