Dozens of people have been detained in what appears to be a national crackdown on people accused of being financiers and allies with Boko Haram and other militant groups in Nigeria.
According to a Daily Trust survey, the ongoing inter-agency crackdown is being led by a senior intelligence officer, with an army general in charge of a task force made up of military officers and intelligence personnel.
The operation is said to be coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), in coordination with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It is also confirmed that billions of naira traced to business accounts 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.
According to the newspaper, a list of 957 names, mostly of bureau de change owners, gold miners and sellers, and other businessmen, is being investigated, with 400 people arrested so far.
These arrests were made in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara, according to reports.
BDC operators at the foreign exchange open market in Wapa, Fagge Local Government, were arrested on March 9th, 15th, and 16th, according to reports in Kano.
Those arrested in Kano include:
Those arrested in Kano include:
Abubakar Yellow (Amfani),
Yusuf Ali Yusuf (Babangida),
Ibrahim Shani, Auwal Fagge,
and Muhammad Lawan Sani, a gold digger.
Those detained are reportedly being held in military and DSS facilities in Abuja and other locations, despite their families and lawyers protesting the suspects’ continued detention without trial or notification of their crimes. The suspects were not permitted to contact their relatives, according to a family member.
According to one official involved in the operation who spoke to Daily Trust on the condition of anonymity, the operation has been a huge success, with key people with “direct” links to bandits and insurgents being apprehended.
“He and his closest ally in the company, the key individual overseeing the funding ring for Boko Haram, are in our custody,” he said.
According to the source, approximately 19 BDCs owned by people with a “direct link to Boko Haram” were discovered, with over N300 billion poured into the country’s terrorism financing.
Over N50 billion in funding to armed groups was traced from one individual in Borno State and another in Zaria, Kaduna State, according to the source.
“A number of those detained have revealed sensitive information, including bandit and Boko Haram insurgent operational data. But they’re being held to help with future arrests,” he said.
According to him, not all of the arrested businessmen were members of criminal groups, but many of them were doing it for profit.
The CBN is said to have strongly assisted the clampdown by freezing suspicious accounts as the operation, which began last year, continues to escalate.
While the NFIU has hinted that the operation is purely military in nature, the DSS and the Nigerian Army have denied any knowledge of the situation.
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