Nigeria’s judicial strike halts trials of terrorist suspects

FROM MOHAMMED MOMOH

A nationwide three-month strike by law enforcement officials in Nigeria has halted the process of at least 400 people suspected of funding Boko Haram and other bandits.

All courts have been closed since April 6, 2021 after the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (Jusun) called a strike over the reluctance of the country’s 36 governors to implement the financial autonomy of the judiciary contained in an executive order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari is included.

At least 957 terrorist suspects were arrested at the time, including Bureau de Change operators, gold diggers and sellers, business people and politicians, many of whom were screened and released.

Financing Terrorism

The results of the screening showed that at least 180 operators of the Bureau De Change were careless in doing business by serving clients who financed terrorism. These operators were subsequently pardoned and fined $ 1,875,000 to secure their release and return to their businesses.

The authorities have now confirmed that 400 suspects will have serious cases to answer and will be brought to justice once the strike is suspended.

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All suspects were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). They were arrested in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and in the states of Kano, Borno, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara.

The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Justice Minister confirmed that charges against them were already being prepared on the border with terrorism.

The Minister, Mr Abubakar Malami, had reported several times in the past few weeks that the suspects were being brought to justice for financing terrorist activities.

“I am pleased to announce that as a result of the broader investigation that has been carried out in Nigeria, a number of individuals, both institutional and non-institutional, have been found guilty, I mean with reasonable suspicions of terrorist financing.”

Suspicious accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unity (NFIU) have also frozen several suspicious accounts worth $ 625 million.

The CBN and NFIU have sent a series of “Post no Debit” letters to commercial banks resulting in the freezes of personal and corporate accounts, along with court orders ordering the freezing of dozen of accounts flagged for suspicious transactions.

However, detainees will wait longer to have their day in court as Jusun has urged members to continue the strike.

Jusun’s national secretary Isaiah Adetola said on June 7, 2021 there would be no going back until the ongoing negotiations, which are being brokered by the federal government, are completed.

The aim of the talks is to reach an agreement on the conditions for the implementation of the autonomous order and thus to end the strike.

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