FG under fire, told to name terrorism sponsors if sincere in anti-terror war | NN NEWS


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 No more stories, deal with criminals -Ohanaeze ■ FG not sincere in anti-terror war -Afenifere ■ Make list of suspects public – CAN, ACF, MBF, Sagay

Notable southern and northern socio-political groups, as well as some eminent Nigerians, yesterday lampooned the Federal government over its claim that it had identified 96 financiers of terrorism, involving about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change.

They wondered why it has become impossible for the government to apprehend and prosecute

The list include Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the North West arm of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Yoruba political group, Afenifere, pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndígbo Worldwide, Aka Ikenga, the Middle Belt Forum, and Prof. Itse Sagay.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had made the claim in Abuja on Thursday. He had also said government had identified 26 bandits and seven co-conspirators linked to financing of terrorism in Nigeria, among others.

According to him, the discoveries were made by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) between 2020 and 2021. He, however, did not name the alleged culprits neither did he say what actions the government has taken against them. Reacting to the development, Afenifere, Ohanaeze, the MBF, some other socio-cultural organisations and senior lawyers accused the minister of filling his address with rhetoric and no substance.

But the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) supported the Federal Government’s move.

No more stories, defeat terrorists – Ohanaeze

National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia noted that Nigerians are tired of hearing about “uncovering Boko Haram sponsors.” Rather they want to hear about total defeat of the terrorist organisation.

Govt not showing sincerity – Afenifere

Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said the government has not shown adequate concern and sincerity in prosecuting the war against terrorism.

National Publicity Secretary of the group, Jare Ajayi, noted that government officials have at different times talked about the efforts the administration is making at curtailing the menace of terrorism

He said, “Other than these occasional reports of bombardments of terrorists’ camps by the military, no concrete steps are seen to be taken by the government to tackle the roots of the problem. Indeed, the failure of the government to act decisively in this respect has emboldened the terrorists to be more daring, leading to the death of thousands of people and capturing of many communities particularly in the northern part of the country by the terror groups.”

According to him, many Nigerians are gradually losing confidence in the federal government’s claims on the war against terrorism, as many of the claims and promises made in the past were not followed up with necessary actions.

Terrorists are protected by govt. – MBF

President of the Middle Belt Forum, (MBF), Dr Bitrus Pogu, accused Alhaji Mohammed of being economical with the truth. He noted that, on the contrary, there are indications that suggest that the current administration is protecting the terrorists. According to him the press conference by the Minister was the usual: “we-have- done-this, we-have-done-that claims that end up not naming the terrorists and their sponsors.”

He noted: “One thing we know is that we have a government that accused President Goodluck Jonathan when he was in office of killing their people. When Lt Gen Kenneth Minimah was the Army Chief, they accused him of killing northerners out of vengeance for what happened during the civil war, so Jonathan changed him. Then when the mercenaries were brought in from South Africa, they were doing the job and dealing with the terrorists and this President said they were killing his people. So, the question is: who are the people of the president?

Pogu said that though all the locations of the terrorists are known to the administration, it has not taken any action against them or done anything to end the insurgency.

On how to end the cycle of terrorism, he advised that the government should make public the list of the alleged sponsors and let the accused defend themselves, even as the military should be unleashed without hindrance on the terrorists.

It is crass propaganda – Aka Ikenga

Making his view known on the matter, a lawyer, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, former President of Aka Ikenga, an Igbo intelligentsia group, tagged the press conference a display of “crass and unmistakable propaganda.” He recalled that about two years ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), convicted a Nigerian for financial ties to ISWAP and Boko Haram and relayed all information pertaining to the case, including names of those involved, to the Federal Government. But it did nothing until the UAE broke the news. He noted that “Lai has carved a niche for himself in saying a lot and saying nothing new. It’s just all smoke and no substance.”Like others, he accused elements in the Nigerian government of shielding the terrorists.

On whether the government should prosecute those allegedly identified, he answered in the affirmative. He is, however afraid that “fall guys” may take the fall while the actual financiers are allowed to walk free.

Release list of sponsors, financiers – ACF, CAN North West Zone

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), North West Zone called on the Federal Government to release the list of sponsors and financiers of Boko Haram and terrorists if its claims were to be believed. National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe said: “If the FG says it knows the people organising Boko Haram, what is stopping it from naming and prosecuting them? We have always called on the government to reveal the identities of the terrorists who have done so much damage.

“When the Zamfara State governor Bello Matawalle, said he knew them, our Chairman, Audu Ogbe, said he should reveal their names and let the heavens fall. At the time we thought he had some earthshaking revelations to make. Later, he named some humble people who couldn’t have organised the terrorism on the scale we have seen in this country.”

The Secretary, North West zone of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and former spokesman, Northern CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe, added: “If it is true that the FG is in the know of the sponsors of this evil against Nigerians and the Nigerian state, we are not interested in being told the story. Let the government go after them and make her findings public.  The purpose of government is to solve problems and not to be telling stories. With all the instruments at government’s disposal, we demand more result-oriented actions against terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, Boko Haram and every criminal elements troubling the soul of this country, including their sponsors and sympathizers, no matter how highly place they maybe. Government must do everything to stop this madness against the state. And as citizens, we must stand together against this evil.”

Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption said there is no reason the names of people who have committed the worst crimes against humanity in Nigeria should not be announced or their faces paraded,. “I agree with those who are critical of government’s silence on this matter,” he told Saturday Sun. “These people should be made known to the whole world because they have subjected us to much fear, humiliation and pains. We want to know them. So, I agree with the majority of Nigerians who are now crying out, insisting that the people should be identified and prosecuted to our knowledge and there must be no secrecy about this.

“Why the government is not announcing the names of those that have been identified as supporting and sponsoring terrorism is what I can’t just understand because when all these Yahoo Yahoo boys do things, they are brought before the camera. When people commit all sort of crimes their names are mentioned and their pictures splashed all over the place. “

YCE backs FG over non-release of names

But in a marked departure from positions held by others, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) asked Nigerians not to criticise the Federal Government over the non-release of names of alleged sponsors.

The group’s Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, who made the disclosure during a telephone conversation with Saturday Sun on Friday, noted that the Federal Government might suffer legal consequences over such a move. (The Sun/Headline Exclusion)

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