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A Country That Funds Its Tormentors -By Kene Obiezu

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Armed Fulani herdsmen

About forty-three Nigerians remain in captivity and it has been revealed that a hundred million naira for each of the victims is the is the outrageous demand the twisted  minds of the terrorists have  conceived.

On March 28, 2022, just hours before the Super Eagles of Nigeria hosted the Black Stars of Ghana in a World Cup Qualifying match which they promptly lost in Abuja, terrorists stormed a train travelling from Abuja to Kaduna.

 They successfully immobilized the train, slaughtered about nine passengers, left many grievously injured and abducted  more than six dozen others.

In the three months that have followed, the events of that day and how the terrorists have continued to milk it to cause maximum distress and embarrassment have continued to haunt Nigeria like a host of ghosts.

Barracudas and their baits

 Just days after the incident, one of the victims was released. He allegedly paid over one hundred million to be released.

 The terrorists obviously had grander plans for the others as it soon emerged that they wanted to exchange them for some of their members imprisoned by the Nigerian government. Of course, Nigeria balked, if not for anything, to save face. And while the country balked and dithered, the terrorists planned.

On Tuesday, July 5,2022terrorists stormed the Medium Security Correctional Facility Kuje in the Federal Capital Territory and set free hundreds of inmates including about sixty-four Boko Haram inmates.

With what they wanted to barter with the Nigerian government now in their possession, they have since monetized their demands.  On Saturday July 9, seven of the victims were released to leave 43 remaining in captivity. Those released included six Nigerians and one Pakistani. For each of the Nigerian, one hundred million naira was said to have been paid, while for the sole Pakistani among them, two hundred million was paid.

About forty-three Nigerians remain in captivity and it has been revealed that a hundred million naira for each of the victims is the is the outrageous demand the twisted  minds of the terrorists have  conceived.

 Egregious economics

 Every serious endeavour involves finances and the way and manner terrorism has turned Nigeria inside out in the last ten years bespeak the fact that it is a serious endeavour. The terrorists who have shown that they have the wiles  and wits to match the Giant of Africaweapon for weapon have shown again and again that they take their business most seriously.

 Taking their business most seriously no doubt involves some very serious money.

GIABA`s alarm

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering(GIABA) is a specialized institution of ECOWAS  and a FATF Style Regional Body that promotes  policies to protect member States  financial system against money laundering, terrorist  financing and the financing of the proliferation of  weapons of mass destruction. The FATF Recommendations are recognized as the global anti-money laundering (AML) and other counter terrorist financing (CTF) standard.

In its 2021 Mutual Evaluation Report, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, also known as GIABA, had raised the alarm that one of the chief terrorist tormentors of Nigerians, the Islamic State West Africa Province, moved about N18bn($36m) generated from trading and taxing communities in the Lake Chad region, through the Nigerian financial system.

 It does not take clairvoyance to predict what use all of that money and the many more groups such as ISWAP continue to make is put to. It can only be to facilitate the smooth perpetration of even more terror.

 Outnumbered and outmatched

For the last decade, Nigeria has faced a tenacious terrorist insurgency from Boko Haram and its offshoot ISWAP, who have ties to ISIS Core and are among the deadliest groups in the world. Terrorism has left Nigerians with many tales to tell. Some of the tales barely believable, have been only believed because of the current Nigerian situation in which everything has become possible.

 Horrified witnesses of devastating attacks on communities have lived only so long to tell of hundreds of bike-riding and gun-wielding  terrorists who had only little qualms in dispatching what helpless and outfoxed security agencies were unfortunate to encounter them.

 It would appear that finally, after many years during which only deaf ears were paid to frantic calls by Nigerians to have the country`s security architecture rejigged, the moment of truth has finally arrived for Nigeria`s preparedness to tackle a growing menace. It saddens greatly to see the epic struggle of  the Giant of Africa with that.

 The problem of terrorism is more serious than first thought thought. That it continues to grow is an ominous sign that what Nigeria has experienced so far may only be  a tip of the iceberg.

 For so long, there have been concrete concerns that the sophistication of the terrorists and their equipment is vastly superior to what many of those always sent to confront them wield.

 If this is not so even though it appears to be so, it an only mean that things must not be allowed to deteriorate to a situation where terrorists will have the upper hand in the  contest for the structure of Nigeria`s security.

Kene Obiezu,

[email protected]

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