Reports have emerged revealing that dozens of persons have been arrested by security agents in an ongoing nationwide crackdown on suspected financiers and collaborators of Boko Haram and other criminal groups.
It was gathered that the operation is being led by a top intelligence officer, with an army general leading a task team comprising military personnel and staff from intelligence services.
Sources have revealed that the operation is being coordinated by Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
As part of the operation, billions of naira traced to businesses belonging to persons of interest have been blocked in banks in series of “post no debit” letters sent out to banks by the CBN and NFIU. The apex bank has also lately obtained court orders directing freezing of dozens of accounts flagged for suspicious transactions.
A security source told Daily Trust that the operation started in 2020 with massive gathering and analysis of financial intelligence and drawing uplink analysis, leading to initial marking of some 60 businesses and individuals.
A source stated that an initial list of 957 suspects comprising bureau de change operators, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen is being acted upon.
Already, according to the source, about 400 persons have been arrested in series of arrests in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.
In Kano, a major focus for the operation, traders at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government, were picked up on March 9, 15th and 16th.
Prominent among the BDC operators arrested in the state include Baba Usaini, Abubakar Yellow (Amfani), Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida), Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge, and a gold dealer, Muhammad Lawan Sani.
Four of the arrested BDC operators were related to two persons jailed in Dubai last year on similar charges.
Those arrested are being kept in military and DSS facilities in Abuja and other places, even as their families and lawyers decry the continued detention of the suspects without trial or informing them of their offences.
The crackdown on Boko Haram financiers was said to have received presidential nod last year, and approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for the exercise to be conducted out of the established bureaucracy.
“Because this is economic warfare against the insurgents and other militant groups, the president, when approving the operation directed that the NFIU take the lead as the country’s financial intelligence powerhouse.
“With the presidential approval, a task team was composed made up of personally selected senior officers who were deployed under the DIA to carry out the special assignment,” a senior government official revealed.
One official involved in the operation said the operation has recorded immense success with the arrest of key persons with “direct” link to bandits and insurgents.
“The main person coordinating the funding ring for Boko Haram is in our custody, he and his closest ally in the business,” he said.
According to the source, about 19 BDCs owned by persons with “direct connection with Boko Haram” were uncovered, while over N300 billion was found to have been pumped into the funding of terrorism in the country.
The source disclosed that from one person in Borno State and another in Zaria, Kaduna State, over N50 billion were traced in funding to the armed groups.
“A number of those arrested have divulged vital information including operational details of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents. But they are being kept to aid further arrests,” he said.
Source: Naija News