Six Nigerians have been convicted by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates(UAE), for funding Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram.
According to a report by Daily Trust, two of the convicts; Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu, were sentenced to life imprisonment, while the other four; Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, were handed ten-year imprisonment respectively.
The publication said the court judgment obtained by it, showed that the convicts were tried and convicted in 2019.
It said the judgment revealed that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were involved in different cash transfers allegedly in favour of Boko Haram, to the tune of $782, 000, though the suspects claimed it was for legitimate purposes.
The newspaper stated that arrest warrants from the office of the UAE National Security Bureau, issued against the accused persons after investigations, “confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram” terror group, and transferring money to the group.
The accused were said to have been apprehended between April 16 and 17, 2017, and their houses searched, according to the search warrant issued by the National Security Prosecution office, after which interrogation files were prepared for each of them.
The first and second accused persons were said to have been charged for joining the Boko Haram group in Nigeria knowingly, which is a crime punishable under Article 22/2 of the Federal Law No 7 of 2017, with regards to anti-terrorism punishable by death or life imprisonment.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants were charged with assisting the terror group knowingly, which is a crime under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, and is punishable by life imprisonment or jail for not less than five years under the UAE law.
It was gathered that almost all the transactions that landed the Nigerians in jail in the UAE, were initiated by two undercover Boko Haram agents, who are based in Nigeria from where they facilitated the transactions.
One of them, identified as ‘Alhaji Sa’idu’, is said to be a senior undercover Boko Haram member responsible for facilitating the group’s access to funds from its sponsors.
Also fingered in some of the transitions is one ‘Alhaji Ashiru’, who is said to be “a Nigerian government official”, and yet a senior undercover Boko Haram member, who facilitated the transfer of misappropriated public funds to the group.
The publication said families of those affected claimed that their relatives were most likely deceived in the course of their routine bureau de change transactions, to the extent that some of the transactions they facilitated turned out to be for proceeds meant for Boko Haram activities.
The report added that Sa’idu would arrange an unidentified or vaguely identified Arab person on a visit to Dubai from Turkey, to hand over an amount of money in US dollars to one of the convicts, who would in turn, advise his Nigerian-based business partners to hand over the Naira equivalent of the amount to him Sa’idu.
“I think Alhaji Sa’idu is just Nom de guerre who used the gullibility of the victims to achieve his aim. They were into bureau de change business, receiving and sending monies on behalf of others.
“From what I understand, they have been doing the business for long and along the line, they fell into a trap. I am not siding with them or trying to indict them but generally, there is ignorance on their side,”a source familiar with the case was quoted as saying.