The security services may have commenced quiet investigations over disquieting revelations that the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), is on the payroll of the Islqmic Statein the West African Province (ISWAP) to destabilise Nigeria.
The investigation is coming as MURIC itself has been making strenuous efforts to deny what it described as blackmail.
A source told Everyday.ng that the security services were looking into the information. He would not say more.
Spokesman of the Department of State Services, Dr. Peter Afunanya, did not respond to a call made to him.
According to a material that has been trending on social media in the last few days a member of the Sahara Strategy Group, (SSG) has asked the Nigerian Federal Government to probe reports that some organisations in Nigeria like the Muslim Rights Concern, (MURIC) based in Nigeria is receiving funds from Islamic State for West Africa Province, (ISWAP) which has recently been operating in the North West.
At a conference in held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Friday, San Lous Keita a member of the SSG from Mali and former Intelligence Chief said reports available to the intelligence community in West Africa listed MURIC as one of the groups that has received funds from ISWAP in the last two years.
While speaking on Terrorism and Failing States in Africa, Keita said MURIC was said to have received some 250, 000 dollars from ISWAP in the past months adding that the funds were meant for MURIC to recruit and train local people in the South West that would provide the logistics needed for ISWAP proposed stronghold on Southern Nigeria.
“In Mali, we have a list of groups listed to be working for ISWAP. There is a particular group, MURIC which is based in Nigeria and led by a University Professor, Ishaq Akintolar (sic)Intelligence report shows ISWAP has been holding series of meetings with ISWAP. The group has been funded recently to the tune of 250,000 dollars brought in cash by ISWAP main agent in Nigeria who is a Lebanese working in Nigeria,” he told the conference attended by our correspondent.
Keita said reports indicated that ISWAP asked MURIC to concentrate on recruiting young Fulani men living in Southern Nigeria.
“ISWAP knows it will be difficult to recruit people of Southern origin so MURIC was asked to concentrate on Fulani who live in the South West. This information was passed on to the Nigerian authorities. We believe they will do diligent investigation and nip in the bud plans by extremists to infiltrated West Africa.
He urged countries in West Africa to take serious the United States warning about ISIS and ISWAP plans to unleash terror on Southern Nigeria and other West African States.
But in a statement, the director of the organisation, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, made this known in a statement in Lagos.
Akintola gave assurance that the group was disciplined and would never be affiliated with any terrorist group.
“Our attention has been drawn to a rumour that MURIC received 200,000 dollars from Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP).
“It is a wicked concoction from the pit of Jahannam. We declare clearly, categorically that we have never had any contact with ISWAP or any other terrorist group.
“We remain committed to the unity and indivissibility of Nigeria,” the organisation director said.
Akintola noted that the allegation was illogical, saying that the group has always condemned every act of terror whether it happened within or outside the country.
“The motto of MURIC is ‘dialogue, not violence’. So how can we descend so low as to collect money from terrorists? Such lies will not fly.
“The terrorists themselves know that we can never support them. How can they give us money? The allegation is dead on arrival.
“We are a disciplined group. We have never been known to engage in any violent protest or attack since establishment of MURIC in 1994.
“It is most diabolical to accuse a group that has pursued peaceful advocacy for 26 years of having any connection with terrorists,” he said.
Akintola appealed to the Federal Government to investigate the source of the information, adding that MURIC has never been involved in any international activity.
“We deliberately restricted ourselves to the Nigerian environment in order to avoid complications.
“We have enough on our hands within the country. So how can a former intelligence chief from far away Mali show interest in us?
“We urge our detractors to desist from their evil ways and pursue the path of honour,” he said.
▪︎ Additional reports by NAN