BY BODE GBADEBO, Abuja |
The Senator representing Borno South, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has reacted to the recent arrest of some Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, who were accused of providing funds for Boko Haram terrorists, saying there should be no secret trial for the suspects.
The lawmaker wondered why the Federal Government will chose to cover the identities of the suspects, noting that he underwent the same experience in an open court for six years before his eventual vindication.
Ndume, who spoke in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Sunday, urged the Federal Government to expose the suspects and immediately put them on trial in order to prove their innocence or otherwise.
“The Presidency said recently that Nigerians would be shocked if it revealed the identities of those who are sponsoring the Boko Haram insurgents. Can you imagine that 400 Bureau De Change operators are the people funding the Boko Haram.
“The presidency is already saying their case is confidential. What is confidential about it?
“The presidency should expose the identities of all the BDC operators so far arrested and carry out their trial in public. If any one of them is innocent, he should be allowed to go while those found guilty must be made to face the music.
“When I was wrongly accused, I was tried publicly and I was vindicated. The trial lasted six years in an open court. If there is any criminal act linked to anybody, no matter how highly placed, let the evidence be placed before the public, there should be no secret trial,” Ndume said.
On the recent US travel advisory to its citizens planning to travel to Nigeria, Ndume, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Army said, “America has the right to advise its citizens on the issue of security just the same way I won’t advise anybody to travel anyhow within Nigeria.
“There is no big deal about the American travel advisory to its citizens wishing to come to Nigeria. The truth of the matter is that we are facing security challenges that is more intense than the situation before now especially with the new dimensions in addition to the existing ones.
LEADERSHIP recall that in March, the senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the Nigerian Government had arrested some BDC operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram insurgents.
Shehu had revealed that some Nigerians transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were working with the BDC operators.
“Bureaus de change are facilitating money to terrorists. We have already worked with the UAE. Convictions have been achieved of Nigerians who are transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists and this also happens domestically. And I tell you that by the time we finish this investigation, the shocking details will surprise many Nigerians,” Shehu added
Dozens of persons have been arrested by security agents in an ongoing nationwide crackdown on suspected financiers and collaborators of Boko Haram.
Those arrested, whose identities remain shrouded in secrecy, are being kept in military and DSS facilities in Abuja and other places.