Six Nigerians have been indicted for alleged funding of Boko Haram. They were convicted by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates. While two (Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu) were sentenced to life imprisonment, the other four were handed a ten-year imprisonment sentence. Among the four that were sentenced include Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa.
Court documents show that arrest warrants from the office of the National Security Bureau were issued against the offenders following thorough investigations that ‘confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram’ sect in Nigeria’ as well funding of the terrorist group.
Surajo Abubakar and Saleh Yusuf, on the one hand, were said to have been charged for intentionally joining the Boko Haram group which is a crime punishable by law with reference to anti-terrorism punishable by death or life imprisonment.
Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, on the other hand, were charged with assisting the terrorist group knowingly which is a punitive crime with a legal sentence of life imprisonment or jail for not less than five years under the UAE law.
In addition, the convicts were said to have been involved in different cash transfers to the tune of USD782, 000.0.allegedly in favour of the Boko Haram sect.
Families of the convicts have however come out to say that they were framed up in view of the fact that they (the convicts) had been involved in legitimate bureau de change business prior to their arrest. Following this, families of those affected alleged that their relatives were most likely deceived in the course of their routine bureau de change transactions.
They added that it was possible that the convicts did not know that some of the transactions they facilitated turned out to be for proceeds meant for Boko Haram activities.
The families of the convicts went on to say that fair hearings in the cases were rescinded and efforts to get the Nigerian government to intervene proved abortive. Auwalu Ali Alhassan, an elder brother to two of the convicts (Ibrahim Ali and Bashir Ali) said he went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Alhassan, he alleged that,
‘The ministry requested inquiries trying to use diplomatic relations to secure their release since they were not convicted of terrorism and to seek an explanation from the UAE of what really happened. It was at that point when the COVID pandemic sets in. Till date, the government of the UAE has not provided the information and court proceedings being sought by the Nigerian government.’
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The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, confirmed Alhassan’s statement while giving an insight into the current nature of the situation: ‘Nigerian government is working but it doesn’t have the exclusive control, it has to rely on the information provided by UAE. So, it is not in control of the speed of response or action.’
Photo Credit: Nigerian Lawyers