Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is unhappy and angry about the recent arrest of some persons allegedly funding Boko Haram terrorists, including operators of some Bureax De Change said to have been facilitating the transfer of money to the terrorists, SaharaReporters has learnt.

A top source in government told SaharaReporters how Malami was opposed to the raid and subsequently at loggerheads with the task force for carrying it out.

Abubakar Malami

It had earlier been reported how about 400 persons were arrested for allegedly funding Boko Haram terrorists.

The series of arrests were made in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara, according to a Daily Trust report.

It was also reported that traders at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government, were picked up on March 9, 15th and 16th.

Meanwhile, according to the source, apart from Malami opposing the raid, he also opposes having the names of those arrested released to the public.  

“Malami was opposed to the raid and now he opposes having the names of those arrested revealed. So, he is fighting the task force that carried out the raid. He is saying it was illegal.

“You see, some of those arrested were people he had freed through his Special Fiat Court that sat in Niger state and parts of Abuja. Those guys are wealthy and he wants to collect money from them and let them off,” the source told SaharaReporters.

It has been reported that 19 Bureax De Change owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been pumped into the funding of terrorism in the country.

So, there is a huge amount of money involved, transferred through illicit means.

Those arrested are reportedly being kept in military and Department of State Services facilities in Abuja and other places.

But despite Malami’s resistance to having their names revealed to the public, the identities of some Bureau De Change operators arrested for facilitating the transfer of money to the terrorists have been revealed.

Some of them were traders at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government of Kano state and identified as Baba Usaini, Abubakar Yellow (Amfani), Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida), Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge and Muhammad Lawan Sani (a gold dealer), according to a Daily Trust report.

Despite being the nation that has suffered the heaviest casualties through Boko Haram atrocities for many years, with over 30,000 thousand people killed and millions of others displaced, Nigeria has shown weakness in dealing decisively with the terrorists and blocking their source of funding.

It took a court in the United Arab Emirates in 2020 to jail six Nigerians for funding the terror group.

In November 2020, there were reports of how six Nigerians were facing prison terms of 10 years to life after a federal appeals court in the United Arab Emirates upheld their convictions for funding the terrorist group Boko Haram.

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The accused were initially tried and convicted in 2019 following their arrest in 2017.

The court in Abu Dhabi therefore sentenced Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu to life in prison. Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were each given a ten-year sentence.

The court judgement said between 2015 and 2016, the accused transferred $782,000 from Dubai to Nigeria to benefit Boko Haram.

Following the successful trial of the six persons in the UAE, which was a smack in the face for the Nigerian government, an embarrassed presidency felt it had to do something to save its face, with the international community already doubting its commitment to the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the country.

In March 2021, Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the Nigerian Government had arrested some Bureau De Change operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists.

He had said some Nigerians transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were working with the BDC operators.

“Bureax 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 had said.

In February 2018, a Nigerian court in Kainji, Niger State freed 475 Boko Haram suspects, with those released for lack of evidence far outweighing those convicted of being members of the Islamist militant group.

According to the Justice Ministry, some were suffering from mental illnesses but it was not clear whether the conditions existed before their arrests.

Also, at a mass trial, held in October 2017, more than 400 suspects were released, with just 45 jailed for their roles in the Boko Haram insurgency.

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The AGF and Justice Minister, Malami had told the BBC that the released suspects would be rehabilitated before being allowed to return to their families.

Just last weekend, governors of the states battling with Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East asked the Nigerian Government to issue a special fiat, different from the general one issued earlier, to enable them to speedily prosecute suspects arrested for terrorism.

In separate interviews with Sunday PUNCH, the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states who spoke through their Commissioners of Justice and Attorneys General, noted that the fiat issued by Malami, which allowed states to prosecute federal offences, was not enough to prosecute suspected terrorists.

For instance, Commissioner for Justice in Borno State, Mr Kaka Shehu Lawan, confirmed receiving from the AGF the “general fiat” to prosecute federal offenders but noted that they needed “specific” fiat for cases related to Boko Haram.

Shehu, who spoke on behalf of Governor Babagana Zulum, said, “Yes I am in receipt of the general fiat by the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute all offenders who commit federal offences in any of the 36 states of the federation but he (Malami) didn’t give us a specific fiat to prosecute Boko Haram insurgents.

“What we want from the Attorney General of the Federation is for him to give us a specific fiat and collaboration to prosecute Boko Haram insurgents in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states where the Boko Haram insurgents commit crime against the Nigerian federation.”

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