The Federal Government has suceeded in blocking terrorism financing in Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said.
Mr Malami told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the federal government had also succeeded in identifying and detaining “high profile individuals” responsible for funding terrorists’ activities in the country.
The AGF had announced in May that Nigerian government was about to begin the prosecution of about 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers and was profiling some high-profile Nigerians strongly suspected to be financing terrorism for prosecution.
The delay in their prosecution and unveiling the suspects have been criticised in certain quarters, but Mr Malami assured the federal government was determined to take stringent measures to counter insurgency in the country.
“We have succeeded in identifying those that are responsible for funding terrorists,” the minister said.
“We have also blocked the leakages associated with funding and then embarking on aggressive investigation that is indeed impacting positively in term of the fight against terrorism.
“But then, the truth of the matter is that investigation is ongoing, is advancing and for the purpose of investigation, I wouldn’t like to be pre-emptive in terms of making disclosures that would have the effect of undermining the successes we are recording as far as investigation is concerned.
“But one thing I can tell you for sure is that whatever we do in terms of detention and in terms of arrest is indeed backed by judicial process.
“We have indeed obtained a legitimate court order taking into consideration what we have presented before the court; the court eventually exercised its discretion in terms of granting orders that we can have them in custody.
“This is pending the conclusion of investigation, which investigation in essence is indeed deeply taking place and we are making a lot of successes and recording a lot of progress in the direction of investigation.”
‘Work in progress’
The chief law officer of Nigeria, however, said the issue of terrorism financing was a work in progress and would not like to be pre-emptive in terms of investigation.
“But one thing I can say for sure is, arising from such arrests, the terrorist funding and financing has indeed been crippled substantially and that eventually translated to some major improvements being recorded as far as crippling the strength of terrorists is concerned within the nation.
“You can see visibly that we are indeed witnessing tremendous successes associated with the Boko Haram, which translate to significant decimation of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“They (Boko Haram) have been decimated to a larger extent and you can see what is unfolding as far as the North West banditry activities are concerned.
“They (bandits) are as well been decimated to a larger degree. All these are indeed the effect of what we have done,” he said.
Mr Malami also said that Nigeria was creating a consensus building towards making assets recovery easier for countries.
The minister recalled that Nigeria had recovered 322 million dollars from Switzerland in 2017 and 311 million dollars from the U.S. in 2020
He said Nigeria was looking at the possibility of recovering further 200 million pounds from the U.S. aside other associated assets being pursued in some other countries.
“We are pursuing a lot of assets across the globe and we intend very soon, we are coordinating a further meeting relating to huge recovery in U.K. associated with certain personalities.
“But I would not like to give further disclosure in respect of that to put into consideration the need not to be pre-emptive as far as our strategies are concerned.
He said the 311 million dollars recovered from Switzerland was deployed to execute the Abuja-Kano highway, the Lagos-Ibadan highway and the Second Niger Bridge.
“So I think we are doing wonderfully well in terms of deploying the recovery of the looted assets and deploying same in projects that impact positively on the lives of people,” he said. (NAN)