An expatriate who deals with Boko Haram has claimed that the Central bank of Nigeria plays a major part of the funding of the terrorist organization.
According to the TheCable, Dr. Stephen Davis who was hired to negotiate for the release of the abducted Chibok girls, says the CBN gave the extremist sect a legal, foolproof way to transfer funds.
TheCable: How did you become involved in the negotiation for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls?
Davis: Because I had built trust among the militants, I made calls to them when I heard about the abductions. They confirmed to me that the girls were with them. I came to Nigeria in late April (the girls were abducted on April 14). I told the president I would try to intervene and help get the girls out. He said he would give me the needed support if I wanted. However, what I discovered was that thrice we tried to get the girls released, and thrice my efforts were sabotaged. That was when I now realised that some politicians were also involved in the insurgency. There were the remnants of those involved in the former peace deal as well as a political arm and what I call the ritual arm which specialises in butchering human beings.
While I was making efforts to get the girls released, the political backers of the group threatened that if I got 30 or 40 girls out, the militants would kidnap another 60 to replace them. I became very frustrated. They threatened that any commander of the group who agreed to participate in any dialogue would be slaughtered by other commanders. The political sponsors are very powerful because they supply the finances and the arms. Until they are cut off from the group, those girls will not be released. We are talking about 200 Chibok schoolgirls, but there are over 300 other girls that have been kidnapped. There are many young men that they also kidnapped and turned them against their families. They asked them to go and slaughter their family members and they are doing it. Nobody is talking about those ones. They are the new child soldiers.
TheCable: In all your discussions, did they name their sponsors?
Davis: They named the man who lives in Cairo. He is of the Kanuri tribe. He passes arms, ammunition and uniforms to them. The CBN official who handles the funding (name withheld by TheCable for legal reasons) is an uncle to three of those arrested in connection with the Nyanya bombings. The three boys lived with him. They were arrested by the SSS (Department of State Security) after the bombings but they are yet to be interrogated about their uncle. The official still works with the CBN. He is still there. He works in currency operations. He knows how to handle the transaction in a way that it can never be traced. Western countries are frustrated that they cannot trace the funding. How can they when it is passed on legally, through the gatekeeper, through the CBN?
Also, a senior official of CBN, who recently left the bank, was very close to Sodiq Aminu Ogwuche, the mastermind of the Nyanya bombings who also schooled in Sudan. Ogwuche’s wife used to visit this official in his office at the headquarters in Abuja before the bombings. They were very close. Don’t forget that the CBN official who handles the transactions also used to report to his superior, the official who recently left the bank. Also, there is a politician who was supplying operational vehicles for the suicide bombers. He gave them Hilux vans. He is a prominent politician. If the president goes after these guys, they will say it is political. That is part of the problem. Everybody will say the president is going after his political opponents, especially as there is a general election next year.
The militants also named the former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff. In 2003 and 2007, Sheriff was very close to them. He used them for his elections. They worked for him. However, in 2007, the leader of the group, Muhammed Yusuf, collected money from Sheriff in return for support. Yusuf’s mentor, Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, exposed and criticised him for collecting money from Sheriff, and Yusuf ordered his killing in April 2007. But eventually, Yusuf and Sheriff fell out. However, it is acknowledged that Sheriff was and is a major financier of the group. He pays for young men to go for lesser hajj. From there they are recruited into the group. They interact freely with the Al-Shabbab militants from Somalia. They are trained by Al-Shabbab. Some of them go to Mali for training. These guys are in touch with the ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which now simply calls itself Islamic State and controls parts of Iraq). They are deadly. They share the same philosophy.
The militant commanders I spoke with also named a former army chief as one of their sponsors. You have senior military officers who are benefiting from the insurgency because of the security budget. It pays them to keep the insurgency going so that they can continue to make money. I asked them several times who the army chief was and they told me it is… (name withheld by TheCable for legal reasons).