Boko Haram: EFCC goes tougher on NGOs in North-east

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said all not-for-profit organisations moving cash in the North-east must secure clearance from the commission.

Mr Magu said this during a courtesy visit to Segun Adeniyi, the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, according to a statement by the EFCC.
Represented by Lawrence Iwodi, head of EFCC Maiduguri zonal office, he said the development would assist in checking terrorism financing in the region.
Also in the statement, Mr Magu disclosed that the EFCC “has been keeping an eye on the activities of persons and groups serving as humanitarian or aid workers within this region”.
“We have successfully compiled the list of all the non-governmental organisations operating in Borno and Yobe states; also their financial activities are monitored by the EFCC, especially on the movement of cash,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported in May, how Mr Magu harped on the need for Nigerians to beam a searchlight on the activities of NGOs noting that some of the humanitarian outfits are the major sources of funding for terrorist organisations.
At a retreat for newly elected governors organised by the Nigerian Governors Forum in Abuja, he disclosed that the anti-graft agency had intercepted about N45 million from an NGO in April.
“We discovered that there is a lot of corruption and illicit financial flow in their operations,” he said.
In its report last year, the UN said “the number of doctrinally based NGOs sending funds to local terrorist groups was growing”.
The report also identified extortion, charitable donations, smuggling, remittances and kidnapping as parts of ways Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin region are funded.
Meanwhile, Mr Magu disclosed that the commission has been keeping an eye on the activities of aid workers in the region.
He said the EFCC has been monitoring undeclared cash above N1 million, by individuals and organisations in Borno and Yobe states,
He added that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria has also ensured that such cash movements are reported.
In his remarks, Mr Adeniyi said the command, under his watch, will not allow humanitarian aid workers to move undeclared funds in and out of the North-east.
The Nigerian army recently closed down the offices of two international aid groups in the Boko Haram-ravaged North-east.
It claimed the agencies were providing assistance to terrorist groups, thus affecting its efforts in the decade-long fight against insurgency in the region.
The Nigerian Army on September 18 sealed the Action Against Hunger in Maiduguri.
It said it had credible intelligence the charity outfit was involved in subversive activities with the terrorists.
Another, Mercy Corps, also said on Wednesday that it had suspended its operations in Borno and Yobe states, two of the worst-hit by the violence.
The outfit made the move after the Nigerian army closed five of its offices.
But, Mercy Corps’ head of media and communications, Amy Fairbairn, said the organisation was seeking to work with the Nigerian army to resolve the position.
The army has not provided any evidence against the two groups.
In December 2018, the army suspended UNICEF from operating in the North-east, accusing it of training spies and “acts that encourage Boko Haram terrorism”, only to lift the ban a few hours later after a meeting with the aid agency.
The army did not provide any evidence of its accusations and did not state if it had the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to take such a decision.
A presidential aide also avoided speaking on Mr Buhari’s role in the saga, simply saying a meeting would be held between the army and UNICEF to resolve the controversy.
The Boko Haram terror group, which kicked off as a religious one and a critic of the affairs of the government, has caused the death of over 30,000 people, including civilians and security personnel.
Millions have also been displaced since the insurgency started in 2009.
Although the federal government insists it has been technically defeated, the group still launches attacks on civilians and military formations.

Source: premiumtimesng

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