Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has reiterated the position of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to name sponsors of Boko Haram at the moment.
He said the government took the decision in order not to jeopardise ongoing investigations.
Malami said this on Wednesday while addressing newsmen in New York, United States, according to a statement by his Spokesperson, Umar Gwandu.
He said the government would disclose the identities of the terror financiers at the appropriate time through a judicial process that would entail prosecution.
Malami stressed that the federal government had been working intensively to ensure no stone would be left unturned in the prosecution of the insurgents.
“The position, as it stands, is that investigation has reached an advanced stage, and the government will make a statement in that direction in due course. Time is not ripe for holistic disclosures so as not to pre-empt the investigation process. The prime object remains the attainment of peace and security of our dear nation.”
He said the government is working to ensure a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, insisting that the general public “would be properly and adequately informed about the investigation and prosecution process at the appropriate milestones as they unfold.”
He claimed that the administration has succeeded in identifying those allegedly responsible for funding terror and is “blocking the leakages associated with funding while embarking on an aggressive investigation that is indeed impacting positively in terms of the fight against terrorism.”
The minister stated that the government, through the Department of Public Prosecution in the Office of the Attorney General, has reviewed more than 1 000 Boko Haram case files, out of which 285 have been filed before the court based on prima facie of terrorism against them.
In recent days, the federal government has come under increasing pressure to publish names of terror sponsors, following the assistance rendered by the UAE government in naming and prosecuting some Nigerians found guilty of funding Boko Haram activities.
On September 13, the UAE federal cabinet named six Nigerians among 38 global financiers of terrorism placed on the Emirate’s watch list. A Nigerian government official was also said to be involved. The official’s identity is yet to be publicly revealed by the Emirati authorities, amidst claims that some individuals in the Nigerian government were mounting diplomatic pressure for the name not to be published.
There have also been strong insinuations and accusations from many Nigerians suggesting that insurgency in the country is being aided by top military officers and politicians for religious and financial interest.
It has been 12 years of terror, with tens of thousands of lives lost and millions of people forcibly displaced. The jihadists’ activities have crippled the economy in many parts of Nigeria and render many school-age children academically disadvantaged due to its incessant attacks on schools in the country.
Successive governments have come up with various ideas to tackle the problem, but despite their efforts, the situation worsens by the day as the rebels grow in number, funds, and members. Among other approaches, the current administration has adopted an amnesty programme to rehabilitate and reintegrate the repented members and attract more to surrender.
However, checks by Immigration Advice Service show that this approach is being heavily criticized by many Nigerians who question the government’s intention, given most Boko Haram victims are still neglected and in dire situations.
Experts have opined that the only lasting solution is to identify and prosecute their sponsors, and since the expose from the UAE, expectations have grown across the country as the public earnestly wait for the government to do the needful.
Olusegun Akinfenwa writes for Manchester Immigration Lawyer. This is an immigration law firm that offers UK immigration and citizenship guidance to South Africans and other nationals globally.