The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, on Thursday, said Nigerians will know the identities of terrorism financiers in the country at the right time.
He spoke on as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ current affairs programme monitored by The PUNCH.
Bawa, who collapsed during an official function at the Aso Rock Villa earlier on Thursday, also said he had seen his doctor and “everything about me is okay, except for the fact that I’m a bit dehydrated and I need to take a lot of water”.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on February 16, 2021, named 41-year-old Bawa as the fourth chairman of EFCC following the corruption allegations levelled against embattled ex-acting EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, and his subsequent suspension.
The EFCC was established in the early 2000s during the administration of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to combat economic and financial crimes like advance fee fraud (419), money laundering, terrorism financing and miscellaneous offences.
On Monday, the United Arab Emirates named and prosecuted six Nigerians and 32 others for allegedly financing terrorism.
Nigerians on the UAE’s terrorism list include Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.
The Nigerians were said to have transferred up to $800,000 in favour of Boko Haram between 2015 and 2016.
The six persons were said to have been tried and sentenced to at least 10 years in jail in the UAE.
Also in March 2021, presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had said the Nigerian Government arrested 400 Bureau De Change operators for allegedly funding Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
He had said the Nigerians were transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates.
Asked specifically on the television programme on Thursday to reveal the people financing terror and unleashing mayhem on Nigerians in the last 12 years, the EFCC chairman replied the interviewer, “If you are my adviser, will you advise me to come on national television to tell the whole world regarding matters of sensitive national security issue? Certainly, not. But what I want to assure is the fact that we are working tirelessly with other sister agencies to ensure that this country is free of terrorism.”
When further asked whether it was appropriate for the government to conceal the identities of terror financiers whose activities have led to the killing of thousands of innocent lives, Bawa said, “Of course, transparency is one of the bedrock(s) of this administration, of course, I am not a spokesman for this administration, but I believe that at the right time Nigerians will get to know those that are financing terrorism in this country and beyond as well.
“These are issues that are beyond the borders of this country and of course we are working tirelessly with our partners overseas as well as other sister agencies at home. We are working, it is not something we should come out to say that these are the modus operandi that we are adopting.”
Terrorism financing has become a concerning issue in Nigeria in the last few years as some unnamed politicians have been fingered of complicity with the marauders.
This newspaper had earlier reported that a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation but the President has demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.
Last September, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, also claimed that a serving northern governor was a Boko Haram leader and moneybag.
For over a decade, the Boko Haram terror group had killed thousands of Nigerians in the North-East, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. The Nigerian Army and the Presidency had at several times claimed the group had been ‘technically defeated’ and ‘weakened’ but the bloodthirsty terrorist faction continues to strike with daring effrontery and crude savagery.