Thursday, 6 November 2014
Federal High Court Jails Boko Haram Financier 10 Years
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday sentenced a financier of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.
This is just as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has warned the Federal Government and the military authorities against engaging in any form of ceasefire agreement with the insurgents.
The Boko Haram financier was among four suspects secretly tried before Justice Saliu Saidu by the Department of State Security (DSS).
The suspects included Adamu Mohammed, Mohammed Mustapha, Bura Husseni and Mohammed Ibrahim.
Efforts by journalists to get details of the allegations against the suspects a were unsuccessful, as no one was willing to divulge the information.
It was however gathered that one of the suspects was convicted and sentenced to 10 years jail for sponsoring Boko Haram, while the other three were released by Justice Saidu.
The suspects were said to have been prosecuted by Mr. P. Okerinmodu on behalf of the government.
When the suspects were brought in to the courtroom under heavy security, all other people in court were ordered out except the lawyers, court registrars and the judge.
It would be recalled that Justice Ibrahim Buba, also of the Federal High Court in Lagos, had sentenced three members of the sect to 25 years each, after finding them guilty of belonging to the outlawed fundamentalist group, Boko Haram.
The suspects were arrested in Lagos with explosives and other dangerous items.
They were said to have been arrested while planning to attack Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria.
The sect members, the first set to be arrested and convicted in Lagos, were rounded up on March 21 while planning to launch an attack.
In the charge against them, the prosecution alleged that the accused persons committed the offences at Plot 5, Road 69, Lekki Phase I Housing Estate, and No. 24, Oyegbeni St., Ijora-Oloye, Apapa-Iganmu, Lagos.
Their trial was conducted in camera pursuant to application by the prosecuting authority, the Lagos State Government, that there was need to protect the witnesses in the case.
Justice Ibrahim Buba gave his judgment in secret and pronounced the three convicts guilty of the terrorism charges.
The 17 suspects initially charged were arraigned before Justice Buba on 18 counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism, illegal possession of firearms, being members of a proscribed organisation, among others.
They included Ali Mohammed, Adamu Karumi, Ibrahim Usman, Bala Haruna, Idris Ali, Mohammed Murtala and Kadiri Mohammed.
Others were Mustapha Daura, Abba Duguri, Sanni Adamu, Danjuma Yahaya and Musa Audu and Mati Daura, Farouk Haruna, Abdullahi Azeez, Ibrahim Bukar and Zula Diani.
But the case was discontinued against all the accused except the first four.
Out of the four, Haruna was discharged also by Justice Buba on the ground that the government failed to prove the allegation of terrorism funding against him.
Haruna was alleged to have agreed to provide funds to facilitate the escape of the first convict, Ali Mohammed, from detention.
However, Justice Buba sentenced the first three accused persons – Ali Mohammed, Adamu Karumi and Ibrahim Usman – to 25 years imprisonment each for participating in acts of terrorism.
They were alleged to have been caught in possession of three packets of explosive construction pipes, 15 detonators, and 11 AK47 rifles with 30 rounds of live ammunition.
The other items allegedly found in their possession included 200 rounds of 7.6 millimetres live ammunition, two suitcases containing explosives, and a water container filled with explosives.
According to the prosecution, the offences contravened provisions of Sections 13(2) and 17(b) of the Terrorism Act 2013.
It also contravened Sections 1, 8, 27 (1) (a) and (b) of the Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004, and punishable under Section 8 of the same act.
Apparently vexed by wanton killings of Christians in the North East by the insurgents, Oritsejafor said rather than negotiate a ceasefire with Boko Haram, the military must be empowered to flush out the deadly sect and also fish out all saboteurs within the security forces.
Lamenting that territories that have fallen under the control of Boko Haram are predominantly populated by Christians, he alleged that some members of the international community may be working behind the scene to cause a break-up of the country.
“When people start jihad, they continue, they don’t ceasefire until they accomplish their goal. All the Shekau are mad, so the military must know that the people we are dealing with are not looking for ceasefire, the military should be empowered to go after these people and deal them a blow that they cannot recover from,” he declared.
Oritsejafor who spoke in Abuja at the National Executive Council meeting of CAN, maintained that Boko Haram is waging a religious war against Christians.
“What is happening in the North-East is unacceptable to us. Christians are the major victims. We are not saying that other people are not affected. But Christians are the ones affected more. All the places where Boko Haram has foisted their flags are dominated by Christians.
“They have taken over Mubi in Adamawa State which is dominated by Christians. Somebody will now tell me this is not religion. Who is fooling who? Nigerians should accept that we have a problem,” the CAN president stated.
He appealed to the military authorities to fish out saboteurs if the war against terror must be won even as he warned that use of force alone would not end the war.
He called on the international community to support Nigeria.
“I was reading a report from a priest in Borno of how churches have been destroyed. I wonder why the international community is not saying anything. Is this not human rights violation? We call on government, NEMA, NGOs, the international community. We need help. Our people are dying. Come and help us,” he pleaded.
Reacting to the alleged ceasefire agreement with insurgents, a civil society group, ‘Say No Campaign’ has picked holes on the Federal Government’s alleged ceasefire agreement with Boko Haram.
Co-convener of the group, Awwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the reported insurgent crisis in Nafada and Bajoga both in Gombe State showed that the ceasefire was a ruse.
The group said it was laughable that a government with all military structure and huge budgetary allocations annually could not decipher what groups they made contact with; gather adequate intelligence before going public.
“The citizens have lost confidence in the military and its capacity to respond to emergencies. Recent reports have it that Nafada and Bajoga both in Gombe State are under serious attack and our trained security men abandoned their weapons and fled. If you cannot tame a group of “untrained” young men running the places around, how much more would you respond to external threats,” the group queried.