The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), came under attacks on Friday after the Federal Government tagged the activities of the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, as acts of terrorism.
The Federal Government blamed Kanu for the murder of Dr Chike Akunyili, the husband of a former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the late Prof Dora Akunyili.
The government further accused him of being responsible for the murder of a former presidential aide, Ahmad Gulak, and over 184 others in the South-East.
This is according to a committee set up by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to investigate Kanu, who is standing trial for treasonable felony.
The 24-member comprised members from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Services, the National Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency.
The committee, headed by Malami, said consequent upon the instigating directives of Kanu, members of IPOB and the Eastern Security Network carried out massive attacks on democratic institutions, especially facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission to hamper democratic process in Nigeria.
It said the attacks, carried out between October 2020 and June 2021, led to the killing of 175 security agents.
The report read in part, “Acting on the instigating directives of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB members and #EndSARS protesters attacked and killed many security agents, destroyed several public and private properties, including police stations, public transport buses and other facilities across the country.
“That on October 21, 2020, Nnamdi Kanu, through an online call-in radio programme (Radio Biafra), further instigated IPOB members to burn down all police stations and kill government security forces, which was carried out and security personnel (especially police officers) were killed and public and private properties destroyed.
“That 175 security personnel were killed by IPOB/ESN, comprising 128 policemen, 37 military personnel and 10 other security operatives. The killing of prominent Nigerians, (recently there were gruesome killings of traditional leaders: Obi 1 of Okwudor autonomous community, Eze E. Anayochukwu Durueburuo and Eze Sampson Osunwa of Ihebineowerre autonomous community as well as the killings of Dr Chike Akunyili and eight others as well as the killing of Alhaji Ahmed Gulak on May 30, 2021).”
The committee said it found that as a consequence of Nnamdi Kanu’s broadcasts, there were 19 attacks on INEC facilities that resulted in the destruction of offices as well as burning of 18 INEC logistical vehicles, several election materials, equipment and ICT gadgets in Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states.
The presidential committee stated that 164 police stations and formations, including police headquarters, Owerri, Imo State were attacked by IPOB/ESN leading to the death of 128 policemen while 144 were injured and 628 vehicles destroyed.
It said 396 firearms and 17,738 rounds of ammunition were carted away during the IPOB/ESN attacks.
“That there were three IPOB/ESN attacks on Nigerian Correctional Service, including the headquarters of NCoS, Owerri, Imo State where 1,841 inmates escaped.
“That the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Umuahia, Abia State, was also attacked by IPOB/ESN leading to the death of one officer,” the report read.
Malami also stated that Kanu has accomplices in Nigeria and abroad, individuals and groups as well as state and non-state actors aiding and facilitating his campaign against Nigeria.
He therefore warned countries supporting Kanu to desist from such.
The AGF added, “We call on these countries to desist from aiding subversive acts by Kanu and IPOB against the state of Nigeria and its people. Conversely, there are some friendly countries which, recognising the status of IPOB as a terrorist organisation, have either banned the activities of IPOB or placed Kanu on stop list. To these peace-loving countries that have put Kanu on their stop lists and banned IPOB from operating in their territories, we express our appreciation.”
There’s link between Igboho and jailed terrorism sponsor – Malami
The Malami-led committee went on to say it established a link between Igboho and a Boko Haram sponsor, Surajo Muhammad, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the United Arab Emirates on charges of financing terrorism.
The government also alleged that between 2013 and 2020, Igboho received N127m from several financiers, including a federal lawmaker. The government, however, refused to reveal the identity of the lawmaker.
Malami said, “The report revealed that Sunday Igboho is a Director and signatory to Adesun International Concept Limited registered on April 23, 2010. Adesun International Concept Limited also has Oladele Oyetunji and Aderopo Adeyemo as directors. Sunday Igboho is linked to 43 bank accounts in nine banks.
“The major financier of the fugitive and separatist, was found to be a federal lawmaker in the National Assembly. A total sum of N127,145,000 was received by Igboho from his financiers between October 22, 2013, and September 28, 2020, through Adesun International Concept Ltd accounts.
“A total sum of N273,198,200 transaction outflows was recorded from Sunday Igboho’s account between March 15, 2013, and March 11, 2021. Investigation reveals that Adesun International Concept Ltd (belonging to Igboho) transferred the sum of N12,750,000 to Abbal Bako & Sons.”
The AGF noted that Abbal Bako & Sons and its promoter, Abdullahi Usman, were suspects in the ongoing Joint Terrorist Financing Investigation.
“Abdullahi Usman is by way of financial transaction connected to Surajo Abubakar Muhammad (who was sentenced to life imprisonment in UAE on charges of financing terrorism (Boko Haram). This report shows the nexus between separatists’ agitation, terrorism financing and disruptions of peace in the country,” Malami said.
The report said connections of financial transactions were found between Adesun International Concept Ltd (belonging to Igboho), some construction companies and businesses among others.
Malami stated that having received the reports, the Federal Government remained resolute in its determination to have a peaceful Nigeria.
“The Federal Government will do the needful, within the context of the legal provisions, in ensuring that the matter is given the deserved attention and those found guilty will be made to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo slams Malami
But reacting to allegation by the Malami-led committee, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said it was unfortunate that IPOB would be blamed for the crises rocking the South-East, including killings by Fulani herdsmen.
The spokesman for Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “Our understanding of Malami’s address is that he has heaped all the criminalities across the country over the period on IPOB.
“It appears right now that investigations are already concluded on who killed Dr Chike Akunyili, the husband of the late Dora Akunyili and Ahmed Gulak and those who destroyed the palace of the Oba of Lagos. His remarks also showed that he already knows the killers.
“As the Attorney General of the Federation, whatever remark Malami makes should be highly founded on facts. It’s not supposed to be involved in speculations.
“If, on the other hand, he has not finished the investigation, what he is saying is mere hyperbole.
“If investigations are now completed, he owes it a duty to let the people of Nigeria know who killed Gulak and Dr Akunyili and we will now see the linkage between those people and IPOB.
“Otherwise, one little falsehood or error in this whole will destroy it and render this whole thing invalid. We want to state again that reeling out all the crimes that have been going on across the country is not a solution. Ohanaeze Ndigbo right from time believes that the Federal Government should adopt dialogue on this matter.
“Irrespective of whether you call them terrorists or not, we’re saying that adopting military or jackboot approach is an unwinnable war. We believe using dialogue or alternative dispute resolution will go a long way to achieving peace.”
Igboho debunks allegations, dares Malami to name alleged lawmaker
Also, Igboho denied the allegation against him that he was being financed by a Boko Haram sponsor, Muhammad.
While reacting to the allegations through a statement by his counsel, Chief Yomi Aliyyu (SAN), the Yoruba Nation agitator challenged the AGF to name the lawmaker who he claimed transferred money to him.
The statement was titled, “Chief Sunday Igboho is a businessman, not a terrorist.”
It read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to a text of press conference by the Attorney General and Minister of Finance wherein he fruitlessly tried to paint our client and those patronising his car trade as terrorists and/or financiers of terrorists.
“I have gone through the text. Sunday was alleged to have transferred the sum of N12.7m to Abbal Bako & Sons owned by Abdullahi Umar.
“Transferring money to bureau de change to buy dollars is what is done by every businessman of our client’s calibre. Thank God that his passports and various bills of ladings were carted away by DSS during the ungodly invasion of July 1, 2021.
“Thus, so far there is no evidence of receipt of money from Abbal Bako & Sons or Abdullahi Umar going by the text conference. What the AGF stated are mere conjectures. Not a hard fact.
“Our client according to him paid Umar and not vice versa thus belying what the Honourable Attorney General of Federation earlier said that Chief Sunday Adeyemo is being financed by people. The picture the learned AGF wanted to paint is that our client is being financed by Abdullah Umar allegedly involved in terrorist financing. Who is now financing who?
“Again, Chief Adeyemo is a car dealer trading in the name of Adesun International Concept Ltd. Does it mean that anybody buying a car from him or selling a car to him is a terrorist?”
The counsel said Igboho was not involved in the activities of Yoruba self-determination until 2020, saying finding over N273m turnover between October 2013 and September 2020 showed that he was not a poor man.
“I challenge the AGF to mention the lawmaker that sent money to Chief Sunday Adeyemo for terrorism act,” saying such a person would be taken to court.
“Up till date, our client has not been prosecuted or found liable for any criminal act or terrorism. There is also a valid and subsisting court judgement that agitation for self-determination is not an act of terrorism but the fundamental human right of any citizen.
“My learned brother Silk and Hon AGF knows that suspicion, no matter how great, cannot grant conviction.
“Chief Sunday Adeyemo is not a terrorist but a campaigner for self-determination.”
Malami’s reasons shallow – Akintoye
Also reacting, Yoruba Nation arrowhead, Prof Banji Akintoye, accused the AGF of being shallow and inconsistent with his accusations heaped on Igboho.
The octogenarian said it was shallow of the AGF to link a so-called transaction in 2013 to the struggle for self-determination which began in 2020.
In a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Maxwell Adeleye, the 86-year-old scholar and historian, said Malami’s accusation was “coined to tarnish a noble and constitutional struggle of the Yoruba people.”
The leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua, said the AGF’s statement linking Ighoho and some indicted sponsors of terrorism “is empty, watery, cruel and irresponsible, stating that the Nigerian government is just chasing shadows and attempting to bully the struggle for self-determination of the Yoruba people out of relevance.”
“We have read the statement credited to Mr Abubakar Malami, on behalf of the Nigerian Government. Our preliminary position is that having been defeated legally and morally, the government of Nigeria is now chasing shadows, bullying the truth, and making an inconsistent attempt to tarnish a noble struggle of the Yoruba people,” Akintoye said in a statement made available to Saturday PUNCH.
It was titled, ‘Terrorism: Nigerian Government Chasing Shadows, Inconsistent, Attempting to Bully a Noble, Constitutional Struggle of the People for Freedom – Ilana Omo Oodua’.
Similarly, the Coordinating counsel for Igboho, Olasupo Ojo, also described the allegation by Malami as unreasonable.
Reacting, Ojo said, “Igboho buys cars from Dubai, Germany, from the United States and other places. He has to pay or is he going to be asking from the person who sells cars to say, ‘Are you a terrorist?’ It is very stupid.
“All those who have been exposed as sponsors of terrorism, have they been arrested? Nobody has been charged to court. So, they are just ranting by all means, trying to look for a charge to hang him with.
“We are challenging them to come out with the details, publish it and we will defend it totally.
“Everybody knows Sunday Igboho is a businessman; he imports and sells cars to legislators, to politicians and others.
“So, the money that was given to him is for what purpose. They (government) should ask the owners of the accounts; have they interviewed them and they said the money they gave to Igboho is for terrorism or the vehicle that they purchased from Sunday Igboho? It is baseless and unreasonable for the government to conclude just like that.
“The allegation is defamatory of the character of Chief Sunday Igboho and we are going to sue them for defamation of character, we will sue them.”