[EDITORIAL] It’s time to name the sponsors of terrorism
Recently, there have been increasing calls for prosecution of the sponsors of terrorism in the country. The ruling All-Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have repeatedly argued over the need to name and shame the sponsors of terrorism.
We recall that last week six, Nigerians were declared wanted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for terrorism. The foreign news platform, Al Arabiya, reported that Nigerians were on the list of 38 people and 15 entities that the country added to its list of terrorist designation.
The publication said the move is part of the UAE’s efforts to target and disrupt networks associated with terrorist financing and its associated activities. This newspaper also recalls that last year, a federal appeals court in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed the imprisonment of six Nigerian citizens convicted of financing the terrorist group Boko Haram.
The six Nigerians who pocketed various prison sentences were found guilty of pouring a whopping $ 782,000 into the coffers of Boko Haram insurgents, who have terrorized Nigeria for more than a decade. The court’s verdict indicated that between 2015 and 2016, the six Nigerians funneled US dollar cash flows into bank accounts in favor of some Boko Haram insurgents. As a result, Nigerians were happy that the pursuit of terrorist sponsors in the UAE was boosting the pursuit of financiers in Nigeria. But that’s not the case, at least not yet.
It is instructive to note that since Boko Haram began its orgy of violence and murder in 2009, the North East in particular and Nigeria in general have not known peace. According to reports, in the past 10 years since the group chose the bloodbath route, more than 100,000 Nigerians have been killed while more than 2.5 million have been displaced. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also revealed that the number of displaced children in the northeastern region ravaged by Boko Haram is 1.4 million.
In addition, the federal government, the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank have agreed that approximately $ 9 billion will be needed to rehabilitate and rebuild damaged infrastructure in the six northeastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe. Once again, we recall that Boko Haram caught the world’s attention with the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, and followed it later in 2018 with the kidnapping of Dapchi girls. These are in addition to the serial bombardments of churches, mosques, government buildings and offices of some international organizations operating in the country.
Pathetically, according to the Global Terrorism Index, Nigeria is the third most terrorized country in the world after Afghanistan and Iraq. It is sad, shameful and unacceptable. It is gratifying, however, that the United States government has stated that it is willing to provide intelligence to help Nigeria identify the sponsors of terrorism in the country as part of efforts to help Nigeria overcome the crisis. continuous carnage inflicted on its citizens by terrorists and armed bandits. We urge the government to seize the offer made by the US government without delay.
Earlier this year, Federation Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said the federal government would prosecute 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers. According to him, the government, through the Complex Affairs Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice, will resuscitate and revitalize the existing special anti-terrorism courts in the country in order to bring all culprits to justice and deter others. However, several months later, no action has yet been taken in this regard. The excitement over the AGF announcement begins to wane, yet terrorists have left citizens no respite.
While it is good news that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was reportedly killed by his rival, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in June, and the head of the ISWAP Abu Musab Al-Barnawi was also reportedly killed in Borno State, these incidents did not result in a victory over the insurgents.
In this newspaper’s thoughtful opinion, therefore, crippling the sources of funding for terrorism and banditry is the fastest way to end this senseless carnage by bestial organizations.
In view of the above, we call on the government to work with key stakeholders in international and local communities to unmask the sponsors of terrorism in the country. The war lasted too long because the sponsors were not exposed and the arrested fighters were not prosecuted to serve as a deterrent.
The US offer should be viewed as an icebreaker. Therefore, the country should open its arms to such assistance from those who are moved by the pathetic plight of the nation. We insist that no effort should be spared to end the ten-year insurgency in the country.