The Federal Government says the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit has uncovered 96 financiers of terrorism as well as the 424 associates and supporters of the financiers.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
In a swift reaction, however, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party said it was hypocritical of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to talk about terror financing.
It said government should go ahead to name the sponsors it had uncovered them.
While reeling out the achievements of the Buhari regime, the information minister also said the fraud unit unmasked 123 companies and 33 bureau de change operators linked with terrorism in the country.
However, Mohammed did not give the names of the sponsors and companies linked with terrorism.
He said, “For its part, the analysis by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, 424 associates/supporters of the financiers, involvement of about 123 companies and 33 bureaux de change, in addition to identifying 26 suspected bandits/kidnappers and seven co-conspirators. The analysis has resulted in the arrest of 45 suspects who will soon face prosecution and seizure of assets.”
Mohammed added that from the NFIU’s analysis of tax evasion and tax avoidance linked to corruption, the agency identified N3.0tn in VAT and N3.7tn in Withholding Tax due to the government.
“The NFIU has also sent 1,165 intelligence reports on cases of corruption, money laundering and other serious offences to 27 domestic agencies for investigation, prosecution and asset recovery,” the minister said.
He revealed that on terrorism financing, the NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries.
“During the same period, 2020-2021, the organisation returned fraudulently-obtained funds totaling US$103.7m, 3,000 Pound Sterling; 7,695 Singapore Dollar and 1,091 Euros to 11 countries of victims who came into the country,” Mohammed stated.