– Will Buhari Name, Shame Terrorism Sponsors – THISDAY Newspapers
Udora Orizu writes that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent disclosure that a member of the National Assembly is one of the sponsors of self-rule agitators, has renewed calls for the identities of these financiers
In his lengthy speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary, President Muhammadu Buhari, disclosed that one of the sponsors of the two main agitators for self-rule is a serving member of the 9th National Assembly. But he did not name the person. Buhari’s recent disclosure is one of the many claims by the Federal Government that some sponsors of terrorism have been identified. These, at best, have remained phantom claims.
His administration over the years has faced public criticism over failure to name the sponsors of terrorism in the country. The recent disclosure without naming the culprit(s) again, has fueled calls in various quarters for government to reveal the face(s) being the crime.
The hint at sponsors of terrorism in the President’s 61st Independence Anniversary speech is a rehash of similar statements by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, presidential spokespersons, Mrlessrs Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, who have at different times mentioned that the FG had knowledge of sponsors of terrorism in the country. P
The resurgence of separatism in Nigeria, has always been seen as a consequence of the Federal Government’s failure to provide security in the face of multiple threats. The escalating insecurity and communal violence across the country, appear to be strengthening separatist movements.
From Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east, widespread banditry in the North-west, farmer-herder clashes in the Middle-belt and militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the unrest being witnessed nationwide is adding to the list of violent conflicts pulling at the unity of Nigeria.
Separatist sentiments in the Southern part of the country is driven by the region’s perceived “marginalisation”. It feeds on nostalgia for the rebel republic of Biafra, which broke away in 1967 and fought a bloody 30-month war for independence.
Many Igbos feel as if they are treated as second-class citizens for many decades. This sentiment they say has been aggravated by a perceived notion that President Buhari favours his northern Muslim constituency, than other ethnic groups in the country.
In recent months, a Yoruba separatist group has appeared, calling for the creation of an independent state known as the ”Oduduwa Republic”. The republic would include all South-western states of the country, including the country’s economic capital, Lagos.
Main Separatist Leaders in Nigeria
While there are numerous advocates of separatism, the two most popular are Nnamdi Kanu, founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and Sunday Adeyemi aka Igboho of Yoruba Nation. The two share similar goals and a common enemy in the Federal Government, have been declared as terrorist organizations, leading to eventual clampdown and arrest of their leaders and some supporters. Following Kanu’s detention, IPOB members called for weekly sit-at-home protests each Monday across the South-east, freezing business activity in cities, towns, and even village markets. The latest pressure tactic being exerted by IPOB to secure Kanu’s release include a ‘Ghost Monday’, business are in the South-east East are expected to shut down. Though the IPOB leadership claims to have moderated it to take place only on days that Kanu is brought to court, certain elements in the organisation have continued to forcefully insist on observation of the Ghost Monday. IPOB stopped formal celebrations of Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary in the South-east. The group has threatened to halt all economic activities in the region for one month if Kanu is not allowed to go home on his next court date, October 21. In the last couple of days, the spate of killings and arson on public buildings have shot up, particularly in Anambra State, where a governorship election is due on November 6. While, these atrocious activities have been mainly ascribed to unknown gunmen, the Federal Government continues to point accusing fingers at the IPOB.
Calls for Name, Shaming Terrorism Sponsors
Overtime, various stakeholders, including the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) among others have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to name the sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria to vindicate himself.
Recently, the U. S. government offered to help the Federal Government identify the sponsors of Boko Haram, which has waged an insurgency war on Nigeria in the last 12 years.
While Nigeria is foot dragging over naming sponsors of terrorism, authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a couple of weeks ago, named six Nigerians with ties to insurgent group Boko Haram as terrorist financiers.
The UAE Cabinet issued Resolution No 83 of 2021, designating a total of 38 individuals and 15 entities on its approved list of persons and organisations supporting Boko Haram and other terrorist cause.
Nigerians on the UAE’s terrorism list were Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.
The six persons have been previously tried and sentenced in UAE.
Last March, the Nigerian government arrested 400 Bureaux De Change operators for allegedly funding Boko Haram insurgency in the country, saying the suspects were transferring money to the terrorists. But their identities were not disclosed because government continues to insist that doing so will jeopardize ongoing investigations.
The suspects are reportedly held in military and DSS facilities in Abuja and other cities.
Nigerians have since been asking the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to disclose the identities of the suspects, a request the government has repeatedly ignored.
Malami said the government was sticking to its plan to put the suspects on trial and secure their conviction before naming them. He said, “Trials are judicial processes and not about media sensations. Naming and shaming in the Nigerian context must be rooted in constitutionalism. We must strike a balance between constitutional presumption of innocence and evidential proof of reasonable ground for suspicion in making disclosures associated with terrorism funding and financing.
“Where reasonable grounds are established, suspects must be naturally taken to court at which point their identity must be disclosed and the naming becomes apparent. Shaming, on the other hand, is the product of conviction at which point the public is equally judicially put on notice. In essence, naming and shaming within the context of Nigerian law are judicial functions which commence with arraignment and terminate with convictions.”
The operation which received the approaval of the President was carried out by different agencies including the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The opposition party, PDP, has said that the Federal Government is not interested in naming and shaming sponsors of terrorism.
A statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesperson, said the Buhari-led government has “always failed to forcefully condemn acts of terrorism in our country.”
“The refusal by the Buhari Presidency to expose the names of sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria vindicates its position that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has been providing official cover for terrorists and bandits pillaging the nation,” Ologbondiyan said.
“The PDP holds that the decision of the APC-led government to cover the identity of sponsors of mindless mass killings, maiming, raping, kidnapping of our compatriots as well as the endless violent marauding of our communities under the APC watch, validates our stand that such individuals have connections with the APC.
“This unpatriotic stance by the Buhari Presidency raises serious national anxieties of high-level complicity in the administration and further explains the reported compromising of our security system in the escalated killings and acts of terrorism in our country in the last six years under the APC.
“Nigerians can see why the APC-led administration has failed to take decisive steps to tackle terrorism, why it prefers to negotiate with terrorists and even makes case for them, instead of apprehending and prosecuting them, as witnessed in the beheading of rice farmers in Borno state.
“The PDP had always alerted of a connection between the APC and terrorists ravaging various parts of our nation and how the APC, as a party, had always failed to forcefully condemn acts of terrorism in our country.”
Ajulo Urges Naming of Terrorism Sponsors
Dr. Kayode Ajulo, a legal practitioner, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Broadcast to the nation, urging him to name all sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria.
The president in his broadcast on Nigeria’s independence at 61 on Friday, said: ”The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo (Ighogho) , and ongoing investigations being conducted, reveals certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals.
“We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.”
In a swift reaction, Ajulo, a former National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP)said that it had become imperative that sponsors of insecurity in our midst must be specifically identified.
He said the sponsors should be named, apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law.
The former LP chieftain also urged Nigerians to support the president in tackling security challenges nationwide.
“We need to name and deal with them accordingly, within the ambit of law.
“Since the inception of this administration, the citizenry has been assured of government’s utmost attention to security, which the Federal Government has vigorously pursued.
“We need to be reassured, hence the need to name and deal with terrorism sponsors accordingly ,” he said.
He said security agencies must be assisted by all to dominate the nation’s security space against invasion by terrorists and other criminals.
Buhari’s New Disclosure
The President in his Independence anniversary speech, disclosed that recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals.
Indicting, a serving member of the National Assembly as one of the financers, he said that these financiers are vigorously being pursued.
Buhari who expressed readiness to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten national security, described the development as a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains.
According to him, instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading the youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
He lamented that the seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words and reckless utterances, leading to loss of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.
He said the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, while the innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.
He assured that his government will continue, in collaboration with international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing.
Buhari said, “As our economy continues to open after the COVID-19 related lockdowns, we have also seen the resurgence of insecurity in certain parts of the country. In the last four months, the gallant men and women of the Military and Security Agencies have made tremendous progress in addressing these new security challenges. We are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning. In the North-east region alone, over eight thousand Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered.
“To support our surge approach to fighting banditry, the Nigerian Armed Forces have recruited over 17,000 personnel across all ranks. Furthermore, I have also approved for the Nigerian Police Force to recruit 10,000 police officers annually over the next six years. I am also pleased to note that most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria. These will positively impact our security operations in all parts of the country.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood. We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled. At this point, I would want to sincerely appreciate the large number of our Traditional, Religious and Community leaders as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities. Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.”
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who was one of the guarantors for Nnamdi Kanu has said that the identity of gun totting killers on the loose in the South-east are not known.
Will Buhari Name, Shame Terrorism Sponsors?
Nigerians have since been asking the Buhari-led government to disclose the identities of the suspects, a request the government has repeatedly ignored.
However following the recent disclosure by the President, Nigerians have renewed calls for name shaming of terrorists. Activist and Buhari’s critic, Reno Omokri in his analysis of the President’s independence anniversary speech said, “Buhari says a leading member of the National Assembly is a sponsor of terror. Let him name that person. It is not enough to make allegations. Name names the same way his government exposed forex defaulters.”
With this new no name disclosure about a serving lawmaker being one of the sponsors of agitators, the question which remains on the mind of many is, ‘why keep the identities of these persons away from the public?
The President in his Independence anniversary speech, disclosed that recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. Indicting, a serving member of the National Assembly as one of the financers, he said that these financiers are vigorously being pursued
The PDP had always alerted of a connection between the APC and terrorists ravaging various parts of our nation and how the APC, as a party, had always failed to forcefully condemn acts of terrorism in our country