An appellate court in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has upheld the conviction of six Nigerians for funding the terrorist group Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper has reported.
The newspaper reported that four of the convicts, Ibrahim Alhassan, AbdurRahman Musa, Bashir Yusuf and Muhammad Isa, were each handed a 10-year jail sentence while two of them, Surajo Muhammad and Saleh Adamu, were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The court judgment obtained by Daily Trust said between 2016 and 2019, the convicts transferred various sums in favor of Boko Haram to the tune of $782,000, which was contrary to Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017.
According to the UAE National Security Bureau, investigations of the Nigerians “confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram.” They were apprehended between April 16 and 17, 2017 and their homes searched and incriminating documents which that formed the basis for the trial were found.
“The first and second accused were said to have been charged for joining the Boko Haram group in Nigeria knowingly, which is a crime punishable under Article 22/2 of the Federal Law No 7 of 2017 with regards to anti-terrorism punishable by death or life imprisonment.
“The third, fourth, fifth and sixth accused were charged with assisting the terror group knowingly, which is a crime under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, and is punishable by life imprisonment or jail for not less than five years under the UAE law”, the paper had reported.
The transactions that landed the six Nigerians in jail were facilitated by Boko Haram undercover agents based in Nigeria. The newspaper identified one of them as Alhaji Sa’idu. The other undercover agent was Alhaji Ashiru, described as “a Nigerian government official” who reportedly facilitated the transfer of misappropriated public funds to the group.
Meanwhile, families of the convicts said they were “framed up” insisting that they were engaged in doing legitimate bureau de change business in the UAE before their arrest. According to them, their relatives were deceived into transferring the money into the accounts of Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, also known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, has been involved in various forms of terrorism mainly in Northern Nigeria. They have in the past decade or so, attacked churches and mosques, leaving security analysts in the dark as to what their main objectives are. They have also been involved in kidnapping, the recent being the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls.
In 2013, the US State Department designated Boko Haram as a “terrorist organization,” legally enabling Washington to take various steps against the groups, their members and their supporters, according to CNN.
The UAE court ruling also reveals how Boko Haram gets funding through money laundering.