There is an extremely critical area of concern to many governments and political/counter-terrorism analysts. How are terrorist groups able to raise funds to further their agendas and launch operations with impunity?
Some terrorist groups and jihadists adeptly use criminal actions to support their activities. Other actors establish financial networks with suitors and other interested parties. These networks are located outside the nations launching the operations. A recent court decision in the United Arab Emirates makes it clear that Nigerian jihadists responsible for the slaughter of thousands and thousands of Christians use this particular means of terrorist financing.
On November 9, 2020, a Federal Appeals Court in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, upheld the guilty verdict of six Nigerian nationals. They were convicted of transferring $782,000 to the murderous jihadists Boko Haram between 2015 and 2016. While Boko Haram has killed many others in Nigeria, its particular target is always Nigeria’s Christians.
The guilty verdicts against these Nigerians in the UAE resulted in sentencing two suspects to life imprisonment. The remaining four were sentenced to ten year prison sentences. These convictions were made under Article 29, Clause 3 of the UAE Federal Terrorism Law #7 of 2017.
As with most cases of terrorist financing, the backstories often provide interesting and informative insights into who raises the funds. They also provide insight into who provides the funds and, possibly, how the funds are spent.
Firstly, there have been reports that the person coordinating this funding effort is an official of the Nigerian Federal Government. This fact should not be rejected out of hand. In a 2012 interview, then President Goodluck Jonathan acknowledged that the Islamist group had infiltrated the Nigerian Government.
This conviction in 2020 provides evidence that Boko Haram’s efforts to find supporters within the government didn’t end with the election of President Buhari.
Secondly, the timeline in which these individuals operated raises another question. It was during this time in which Turkey reportedly was shipping arms to Boko Haram. Evidence seems to indicate that this Turkey’s collaboration began in 2014.
Recordings of this shipping of arms emerged in November 2019. And this prompted the Nigerian military to launch an investigation.
The investigation shows that concerns over Turkish arms flowing into Nigeria reached a crescendo in 2017. At this time four shipments of mislabeled weapons from Turkey were seized by Nigerian customs officials in Lagos. The seizures prompted a meeting between a Nigerian security officer and the Turkish ambassador.
What should we take away from this information? First, it demonstrates that Boko Haram has, apparently, been able to utilize overseas connections to fund-raise.
And the second thing we should take away is that the group has facilitated ties with Turkey. Taking into consideration Turkey’s interference and evil doings in Syria, Libya, and Azerbaijan, Turkey’s activities related to Nigeria should be monitored closely, at the very least.
But there is yet another important point. We have Nigerians outside of the country being convicted, not by Nigeria, but by another nation, of financially supporting a terrorist group operating within Nigeria. It is not for MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta), nor is it for the Fulani and their terrorist activities in the Middle Belt States, nor is it even for the ISWAP (Islamic State West African Province) faction. It is for financial support of Boko Haram.
After a long fight (three years) with the Clinton State Department, Boko Haram was listed as an FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) by the United States. It has also been listed as such by a number of other nations.
Because of its listing, Boko Haram often gets more scrutiny for their actions than other groups currently active in Nigeria. And it would seem as if the Nigerian government would, if it were truly against the atrocities being committed against Christians, be more vigilant to stop the terrorists.
The inability of the Nigerian government to actually end the genocidal insurgencies in the country is truly puzzling . . . or not. Not only is the intelligence service failing Nigeria, but it appears that the criminal investigators and the Ministry of Justice are failing the country as well.