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Thursday, 29 February 2024 06:47

NGOs Now Used To Fund Terrorism In West Africa — Commandant


 

Federal government investigation has revealed that some parody non-governmental organisations (NGOs), within West Africa are being used to fund terror organisations.

The commandant of the National Defence College, Abuja, Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu, disclosed this at the opening session of a five-day workshop organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).

GIABA is a specialised institution of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering, AML, and Counter Financing of Terrorism, CFT, strategies in West Africa.


Nigeria was represented at the event by the National Counter Terrorism Centre, NCTC, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, National Defence College and the Department of State Services, DSS.

In his remarks at the workshop which provided a platform for ECOWAS member states to brainstorm and create curriculum and training modules to counter terror financing within the region, which was read by Dr. Adam Abdullahi, said efforts were on to block all the sources of funds open to terrorist organisations in the country.

He, however, decried that some of the terror groups had resorted to seeking funds through various less suspectable means.

“The moment we are able to interrupt the financing of terrorist groups, about 50 per cent of our problem is solved. Majority of the sources of funds for these criminal elements are unconventional means, such as kidnapping for ransom and illegal declaration of taxation in the Lake Chad Basin.


“The moment we are able to seal off these unofficial sources of income and identify ways of blocking them, as well as some official sources as religious organisations and other parody NGOs who are supporting terrorism, the better for us,” he added.

Also at the event, the director-general of the DSS, Mr Yusuf Bichi, described terrorism as one of the most significant threats to global peace.

Bichi, who was represented by Mr. A.S. Adeleke, said there was need to dismantle “the subversive funding mechanism” that sustain terrorist networks within West Africa.

He said the effort would require a comprehensive and coordinated response aimed at undermining the capacity of terror groups to cause harm in the society.

“At the heart of our effort to counter terrorism lies, is the need to disrupt and dismantle the financial network that enable its operation.

“Terrorist organisations rely on a steady flow of funds to recruit, train and equip their operatives to propagate their extremism ideology and carry out their heinous acts of violence.

“By targeting their financial lifelines, we can undermine their capacities to function. However, combating terrorism financing is not task that only one agency of government can undertake. It requires close cooperation and coordination among law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, civil society organisations and international regulatory community at large. It demands shared commitment on information sharing, capacity building and the implementation of our robust legal and regulatory frameworks,” he added.


On his part, the coordinator, NCTC, Real Admiral Y.E. Musa, lamented that activities of various terrorist groups had persistently increased, despite the sustained efforts and cooperation among national governments within the region.

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