FG uncovers 96 Boko Haram sponsors, 424 associates

The federal government Thursday said the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has uncovered 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria.

It also said  from an analysis of tax evasion and tax avoidance linked to corruption, the agency identified  N3,909,707,678,112.43 in VAT and N3,737,918,335,785.82 in Withholding Tax due to the government.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed announced this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the corruption fight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

He said: “ For its part, the 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.

“The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets. Also, from its analysis of tax
evasion and tax avoidance linked to corruption, NFIU has identified
N3,909,707,678,112.43 in VAT and N3,737,918,335,785.82 in Withholding Tax due to the government. 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.

“On terrorism financing, NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries. During the same period, 2020-2021, the organization returned fraudulently-obtained funds totalling US$103, 722,102.83,3,000 Pound Sterling; 7,695 Singapore Dollar and 1,091 Euros to 11 countries of victims who came into the country.”

He said: “The ICPC has played a pivotal role in bringing about structural changes in the operations of the government, especially regarding improvements in MDAs budget utilization, better value for money, improved project completion, service delivery and higher level of anti-corruption awareness. Recall, gentlemen, that the c ommission established the Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative in 2019 to ensure value for money for the Nigerian people and full execution of projects.

“Between 2019 and 2021, ICPC traced 2,000 projects worth over N300 billion. During the same period, 326 contractors of abandoned projects across the six geo-political zones were forced by the commission to return to site to complete projects worth N32.183 billion. Also, the ICPC’s Assets Tracing, Recovery and Management (ATRM) project led to the recovery of cash totalling N34.346billion and US$1.62 million between 2019 and 2021. Also, the Commission’s System Study and Review of personnel and capital votes of MDAs resulted in savings of N261 billion to the government between 2019 and 2021. ICPC has also secured 66 convictions from the 243 cases it filed in court during the same three-year period.”

While further highlighting activities of other anti-corruption agencies, the minister said: “In 2021 alone, the EFCC secured a total of 2,220 convictions. That represents a 127 percent increase in the number of convictions (976) recorded in 2020, and a far cry from the 195 convictions secured in 2016, the 189 in 2017, the 312 convictions in 2018, and the 1,280 recorded in 2019. The 2021 figure of 2,220 convictions represents a 98.49 per cent success rate, with only 34 cases (representing 1.51 per cent) discharged.

“On Monetary recoveries, in 2021 alone, the EFCC recovered a total
monetary amount of N152,088,698,751.64; 1,182,519.75 Pounds Sterling, 50 Emirati Dirham, 1,723,310 Saudi Riyal, 1,900 South African Rand; US$386,220,202.85; 156,246.76 Euros; 1,400 Canadian Dollars; 5.36957319 Bitcoin and 0.09012 Ethereum. The last two are digital currencies.”

On Corruption Index Perception

Speaking on the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021 of the Transparency International (TI), he said the administration was not out to impress anybody.

In its CPI 2021 latest ranking, TI said Nigeria “ scored 24 out of 100 points in the #CPI2021, which is one point less compared to the score of 2020.

“In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2021, Nigeria ranks 154 out of 180 countries and territories, falling back five places from the rank of 149 in 2020.”

Also on its website, TI said: “More than 100 powerful individuals were exposed as having used anonymous companies to buy properties with a total worth of £350 million in the United Kingdom alone. Secretive dealings among Nigeria’s power holders were previously reported as part of the Panama papers and FinCEN Files.”

But commenting on the rating, Mohammed said: “We are not fighting corruption to impress anybody. Look, as far back as 2015, we promised Nigerians we were going to make fight against corruption as a cardinal programme of our administration.  TI, TC, ZT, nobody asked us to put corruption on our cardinal programme. I have told you these are verifiable evidences of our effort in fighting corruption. The facts are there. Remember, this is not a reaction to the TI.”   

Zulum on $6.9bn loss

Meanwhile, Borno state Governor Babagana Umara Zulum  has  said  over $6 billion  was lost in the last 13 years as a result of insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country.

The governor said this Thursday in Abuja at the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team.

He said the insurgency that ravaged the zone was responsible for poverty and other challenges the North-east is currently facing.

“The insurgency has triggered acute humanitarian and post displacement crisis, devastating social and economic impact on the population, further deepening fragility and poverty in the North-East region.

“The outcome of the recovery peace building assessment by the World Bank, EU and UN reveal that a total sum of about $6.9 billion was lost as a result of the insurgency in the entire North-eastern states. Out of this, Borno state accounts for over two-third.

“The insurgents have destroyed about 5000 classrooms in Borno state; about 800 municipal buildings have been destroyed including local government secretariats, prisons, and traditional rulers’ buildings among others. Furthermore, they destroyed about 713 energy distribution lines and 1600 water sources.

“In addition to that, we harvested about 49, 311 widows and about 49, 917 orphans. These are official figures,” he said.   

The governor also spoke on the successes recorded, saying there was gradual return of peace as a result of commitment and support from the federal government.

“In Borno State today, the gradual return of peace and the much reduction of cases of insecurity in Borno state and major parts of the North-East, have been attributed to the commitment and collaboration on the parts of the state and federal governments.

“One major reason why we have been succeeding in the North-east, particularly Borno state, is because there was never a time I requested to see the President and was denied access.

“This is something very important. Whenever I had serious security issues in Borno state, as soon as I land in Abuja, within the next 10-15 minutes on arrival, I will be granted access to the president and this has contributed a lot in ensuring the gradual return of peace and stability to Borno state,” he said.

Governor Zulum  further said: “Significant amount of resources has been injected into the implementation of the security strategies; financial, material, logistics and motivational.”

The governor said the state government had shown great commitment in the relocation of displaced persons, with farming activities now picking up.

He thanked the federal government and security agencies for playing a big role in the peace process, stressing that the natives had also contributed their own quota towards the restoration of peace by volunteering intelligence.

“Honestly speaking, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police, the DSS and others are giving the desired collaboration to the government of Borno state.

“The first effort we made towards securing Borno state was through intelligence sharing, which is very important. We considered the communities’ participation as very important and the community-driven approach of re-establishing peace in Borno state has yielded positive results.

“We have our local intelligence, who normally provide feedback mechanism to the government and the military with a view to addressing the lingering insecurity in Borno state.” he said.

The governor also told journalists that reported cases of vices and criminal activities led to the closure of some internally displaced persons’ camps in the state.

The disclosed that 18 displaced communities had since been resettled, commended the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigeria Customs Service (NIS), North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for their support.

Lagos/Ibadan expressway

In a related development, six suspected kidnappers, including those terrorising travellers at the Onigari axis of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway have been nabbed by the police.

Oyo state Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko stated this Thursday while briefing journalists on the activities of the command at the state Police Command Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan.

Onadeko gave the suspects’ names as Aliu Umaru, Isiaka Ibrahim, Tambaya Usman and those arrested at the Lagos/Ibadan expressway are as Tambaya Usman Shehu ‘m’ age 27years, Aliyu Umaru ‘m’ aged 20, Isiaka Ibrahim ‘m’ aged 28.

The CP said following the January 7 kidnap at Onigarri axis of the Lagos / Ibadan expressway, the command immediately swung into action through the swift deployment of intelligence and tactical assets to fish out the kidnappers which led to the arrest ” of one Bashiru Abubakar ‘m’ alias Maku-Maku, a syndicate member of the kidnapping gang terrorising Lagos/Ibadan expressway, on 14/1/2021 at about 1530hrs.

“Owing to the rising cases of kidnapping along Lagos-Ibadan express way and the ugly incident of a case of kidnapping/ murder that happened at Onigari area of Lagos express way on the 07/01/2022, the Oyo state Police command immediately swung into action through the swift deployment of intelligence and tactical assets,” she said. 

She further said this “led to the arrest of one Bashiru Abubakar ‘m’ alias Maku-Maku a syndicate member of the kidnapping gang terrorising Lagos/Ibadan expressway, on 14/1/2021 at about 1530hrs.”

“During interrogation, the arrested suspects mentioned one Babuga Umaru ‘m’ one Bellel ‘m’ one Ibrahim ‘m’ one Buyo ‘m’ one Habu Kosoko ‘m’ one alias Ontop one Danliti, surnames yet unknown now at large, that have carried out the kidnapping operations that caused the death of one Oluwatosin Anwajoye ‘m’ aged 45yrs at Onigari area of Lagos/Ibadan expressway on the 07/01/2022.

“He confessed that, he used his motorcycle to convey one Bellel ‘m’ and one Ibrahim ‘m’ on the 06/01/2022 at about 2000hrs and they aligned in the bush at Onigari area of Ibadan-Lagos Expressway before they struck on the 07/01/2022. He also confessed that he was the person that supplies the syndicate foods and hard drugs while they were in the forest. He concluded that after the kidnapping operation,” the CP further said.

She said: “Preliminary investigation of all the suspects arrested so far in the case revealed that they all have knowledge of the kidnapping operations that took place on the 07/01/2022 and the forensic analysis of their phone numbers linked them up with the crime and there is nexus between them and the suspects at large.”

On the suspected kidnappers activities along Ibadan-Lagos expressway, expressway, Onadeko said, “this is another kidnap syndicate operating along Ibadan-Lagos expressway. Proactive measure adopted by the State Command to flush out and abate kidnapping in the state.

“Painstaking effort led to the arrest of one Aliyu Umaru ‘m’ and one Isiaka Ibrahim ‘m’. Upon the interrogation of the duo led to the arrest of one Tambaya Usman Shehu ‘m’ at his hideout at Akimbola area of Bodija Ibadan on 27/1/2021 at about 0230hrs who also belong to another syndicate of the kidnapping gang terrorizing Ibadan-Lagos expressway.”

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