Six Nigerians convicted in UAE for funding Boko Haram in 2019

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Six Nigerian nationals were convicted by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for funding Boko Haram in 2019, according to Daily Trust.

This was disclosed on Monday in an exclusive report by Daily Trust. The media platform revealed that the Nigerians were responsible for laundering the sum of $782, 000 between 2015 and 2016.

“Two of the convicts, Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were sentenced to life imprisonment; while the remaining four, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf, and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were handed ten-year imprisonment respectively,” Daily Trust revealed.

“According to the judgment, all the accused were charged with funding a terror group (Boko Haram) by facilitating transfers of money from Dubai to Nigeria for alleged terror operations.

“Engaging in such an activity is a crime under Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Law No 7 of 2017 with regards to anti-terrorism law, documents seen by this paper showed.”

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Also revealed was that Boko Haram uses undercover agents to facilitate its funding, the agents are based in Nigeria.

One of them, Alhaji Sa’idu, who is allegedly based in Nigeria and said to be a senior undercover Boko Haram member responsible for facilitating the group’s access to funds from its sponsors” they said.

“Also fingered in some of the transitions is one Alhaji Ashiru, said to be a Nigerian government official and a senior undercover Boko Haram member, who facilitated the transfer of misappropriated public funds to the group.


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The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said Nigeria is aware of the convictions and has written to the UAE to know who was involved.

“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.

“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,” Malami said.

What you should know 

Nairametrics reported in 2016 that Boko Haram started a form of microfinance by providing or promising capital and loans to young entrepreneurs and business owners in northeast Nigeria, as a ploy to get them to join the group.

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According to aid agency – Mercy Corps, Boko Haram was exploiting the poverty facing most small business owners from butchers and beauticians to tailors and traders, to get them to accept the loans in exchange for joining Boko Haram.

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In a 2015 survey of academic, governmental and journalistic accounts, it was reported that  Boko Haram funds its escalating acts of terror through black market dealings, local and international benefactors, and links to al-Qaeda and other well-funded groups in the Middle East, such as ISIS – the most dangerous fundamental group in the world today.

Why it matters 

Tracing terrorism funding is a problem globally and also a problem in Nigeria. The reports from the UAE show that terrorist groups work with some government agencies to hide from suspicion. The report also revealed Boko Haram has their money laundered through Bureau de Changes.  This could lead to tighter currency transfer regulations from the CBN and demands for more transparency into dealings and the sources of funds.

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