With additional reports by Premium Times.
The Federal Government is insisting that it did not pay any ransom for the release of over 100 girls freed from Boko Haram as claimed in a United Nations report.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who denied the claim asked for evidence to prove that any ransom was paid.
”It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such claim. Without that, the claim remains what it is: a mere conjecture,” the Minister said in statement by his aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi.
According to a report by Premium Times,
the United Nations revealed noted that the predominance of the cash economy is a major factor fuelling the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin region,.
This was contained in the 22nd Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, pursuant to resolution 2368 (2017) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – ISIL – (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities.
The report identified extortion, charitable donations, smuggling, remittances and kidnapping as parts of ways Boko Haram is funded.
The report was submitted to the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.
The Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has caused over 100,000 deaths. The activities of the country’s security forces have largely limited the terrorists to three North-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Nigerian forces are also working with those of neighbouring countries, Chad and Niger, in a multi-national force to defeat the terrorists.
In its report, the UN said the number of doctrinally based non-governmental organisations sending funds to local terrorist groups was growing, and Member States were concerned that radicalisation was increasing the threat level in the Sahel.
The report said: “Meanwhile, Boko Haram (QDe.138) and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have had a similar impact in their areas of control, including the Lake Chad basin.
“The predominance in the region of the cash economy, without controls, is conducive to terrorist groups funded by extortion, charitable donations, smuggling, remittances and kidnapping.
“In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released by ISWAP on 21 March 2018 in exchange for a large ransom payment,” the report stated.
The report was signed by Edmund Fitton-Brown, Coordinator, Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, who said the report was “comprehensive and independent”, and Kairat Umarov, Chair, Security Council Committee.
The UN Security Council committee on al Qaeda sanctions blacklisted and imposed sanctions on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in 2014 after the insurgents kidnapped more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls.
The designation, which came into effect after no objections were raised by the Security Council’s 15 members, subjected Boko Haram to UN sanctions, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban.
The UN Security Council had last week said it remained concerned at the security and humanitarian situation caused by the Boko Haram terrorists and other armed groups in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
In a Presidential Statement, the 15-member body regretted that Central African countries were beset by ongoing terrorist activity, instability and the effects of climate change, and asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to review the work of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), and recommend areas for improvement.
The presidential statement read: “The Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks carried out in the region, including those perpetrated by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Daesh).
“These attacks have caused large-scale and devastating losses, have had a devastating humanitarian impact including through the displacement of a large number of civilians in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, and represent a threat to the stability and peace of West and Central Africa.
“The Council notes with particular concern the continuing use by Boko Haram of women and girls as suicide bombers, which has created an atmosphere of suspicion towards them and made them targets of harassment and stigmatisation in affected communities, and of arbitrary arrests by security forces.
“The Council emphasises the need for affected States to counter-terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including by addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, in accordance with obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law”.
The Security Council welcomed the support provided by UNOCA and the UN Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS) for the development of a joint regional strategy to address the root causes of the Lake Chad Basin crisis through regular contact with regional leaders.
The Council encouraged partners to increase security assistance to Lake Chad Basin Commission countries, and humanitarian and development support across the region for those affected by Boko Haram activities.
“The Security Council remains deeply concerned at the grave security situation and related violations and abuses of human rights in parts of Central Africa, in particular the continuing terrorist activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin,” it said.
“The Security Council expresses its ongoing concern at continued tensions linked to disputed electoral processes, social and economic difficulties, and conflicts between farmers and herders,” the statement added.
The 15-member Council noted that UNOCA’s priorities would include to work closely with UNOWAS to address trans-regional issues such as maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, conflict between farmers and herders, and combating Boko Haram
FG denies paying ransom for Dapchi girls, after indicting UN report
With additional reports by Premium Times.