Recently, calls for the prosecution of terrorism sponsors in the country have continued to grow louder. The ruling party, the All-Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have continually exchanged brickbats 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. Foreign news platform, Al Arabiya reported that the Nigerians are on the list of 38 individuals and 15 entities the country added to its terror designation list.
The publication reported that the decision comes within the framework of the UAE’s efforts to target and disrupt networks associated with the financing of terrorism and its associated activities. This newspaper also recalls that last year an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) upheld the imprisonment imposed on six Nigerian citizens found guilty of funding the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The six Nigerians who bagged various jail terms were found guilty of facilitating a huge sum of $782,000 into the coffers of Boko Haram insurgents, who have been terrorizing Nigeria for more than a decade. The verdict of the Court indicated that between 2015 and 2016, the six Nigerians channeled cash flow in United States dollars into bank accounts in favour of some Boko Haram insurgents. Accordingly, Nigerians were happy that the prosecution of the sponsors of terrorism in the UAE will give a fillip to the prosecution of the financiers in Nigeria. But it has not, at least, not yet.
It is instructive to note that since Boko Haram started their orgy of violence and killings in 2009, the North East in particular and Nigeria in general, have not known peace. According to reports, in the last 10 years since the group chose the path of bloodbath, over 100,000 Nigerians have been killed while over 2.5 million have been displaced. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have also disclosed that the number of displaced children in the Boko Haram ravaged North East region is 1.4 million.
Also, the Federal Government, United Nations, European Union, and World Bank have agreed that an estimated $9 billion would be required for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in the six North-East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe. Again, we recall that Boko Haram seized the world’s attention with the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, and followed it up later in 2018 with the kidnap of girls from Dapchi. These were in addition to the serial bombing of churches, mosques government edifices, and office accommodation 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. This is sad, shameful and unacceptable. It is, however, gratifying to note that the United States government had said it is willing to provide Intelligence to assist Nigeria to identify sponsors of terrorism in the country as part of efforts to help Nigeria overcome the 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 in the year, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had said that the federal government would prosecute 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers. According to him, the government will, through the Federal Ministry of Justice’s Complex Case Group, resuscitate and reinvigorate the existing special terrorism prosecution courts in the country in order to bring to book all those found guilty, and to serve as deterrent to others. However, several months after, we are yet to see any action taken in this regard. The excitement elicited by the announcement of the AGF is beginning to die down, yet the terrorists have not given the citizens any rest.
Although it is good news that the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, was said to have been killed by its rival, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in June, and the Leader of ISWAP Abu Musab Al-Barnawi was also reportedly killed in Borno State, these incidents have not translated to victory over the insurgents.
In the considered opinion of this newspaper, therefore, crippling the sources of funding of terrorism and banditry is the fastest way to ending this mindless carnage by the beastly organizations.
In view of the foregoing, we call on the government to work with critical stakeholders in the international and local communities to unmask the sponsors of terrorism in the country. The war has lingered for too long because the sponsors have not been unmasked and the fighters when arrested have not been prosecuted to serve as a deterrent.
The offer by the US should be seen as an ice breaker. Consequently, the country should open its arms to any such assistance from those moved by the nation’s pathetic situation. We insist that no effort should be spared to end the decade-long insurgency in the country.