A former commissioner of police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, says Nigerian government officials have compromised the prosecution of terrorists in the country.
Mr Ojukwu spoke against the background of a disclosure by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who said that the federal government had uncovered 96 financiers of terrorism in the country.
Featuring on Channels Television evening programme, Politics Today, on Thursday, Mr Ojukwu said the government’s lethargic disposition towards putting terrorism financiers on trial, demonstrates how some top public officials “compromised” the efforts aimed at bringing the felons to justice. He did not mention names.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had for the umpteenth time disclosed that the government “was preparing suspects linked to terrorism financing for prosecution, without any concrete action seen to have been taken.”
Mr Ojukwu, who once served as the police spokesperson at the Force headquarters, Abuja, lamented that terrorists had brought enormous hardships on Nigerians.
He tagged the unnamed public officials benefitting from the security crises plaguing Nigeria as “disaster merchants who have compromised” the prosecution of suspected Boko Haram sponsors.
“There is a lot of compromise there,” Mr Ojukwu said when asked by the anchor person of the programme, Seun Okinbaloye, to comment on the Information Minister’s disclosure on Thursday concerning Boko Haram financiers.
While putting questions to Mr Ojukwu and his co-guest on the programme, Mike Ejiofor, a retired director from the State Security Service (SSS), the Channels Television journalist acknowledged that on three separate occasions, the Justice Minister had promised to initiate criminal proceedings against the suspected terrorism financiers.
“We don’t need to hear the names; get them (terrorism financiers) arrested, prosecute them and put them behind bars. That is where the belong,” the retired police officer said.
“How can you allow people who have caused so much hardships on Nigerians; keeping us down, killing our men and women, raping people, and you just say we have their names? Why are you hiding their names?” Mr Ojukwu queried.
He has consistently lamented the poor funding of the Nigerian police force, calling for improved remuneration and equipping of its manpower.
Earlier, Mr Mohammed had during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday revealed that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) had uncovered 96 financiers of terrorism, including 424 associates of the financiers.
But the minister, like his colleague, Mr Malami, did not mention the names of the sponsors and firms fingered in the alleged terrorism financing.
“For its part, the analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven co-conspirators.
“On terrorism financing, NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries. During the same period, 2020-2021, the organisation returned fraudulently-obtained funds totalling US$103,722,102.83; 3,000 pound sterling; 7,695 Singapore dollar, and 1,091 Euros to 11 countries of victims who came into the country.”
“The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets,” Mr Mohammed said.