Retired Army General Accused Top Nigerian Military Officials Of Sponsoring Boko Haram And Bandits

Former General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Ali-Keffi, has revealed that terrorism financing, procurement and movement of arms and ammunition for Boko Haram and other criminal elements have links to the military.

General Ali-Keffi, who was forced out of the army for exposing his colleagues’ involvement with terror financing, disclosed this in a letter to President Bola Tinubu, which also detailed his arrest, detention and compulsory retirement.

“The most worrisome aspect was that some of the individuals involved in terrorism financing of Boko Haram terrorists and who were also involved in procurement and movement of arms and ammunition for Boko Haram and other criminal organisations had links with the military,” he stated.

Ali-Keffi, who headed Operation Service Wide (OPS) set up by former President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate those involved in terrorism financing, said his arrest, detention and compulsory retirement followed the report of his team which exposed the involvement of senior government officials, a top banker and top military brass in terrorism financing.

Ali-Keffi in the letter published by ThisDay, revealed that he headed a presidential investigative taskforce, instituted Board of Inquiry (BOI) convened by Major General BM Monguno (rtd), the former National Security Adviser (NSA), which sat in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) for five weeks from early January to late February 2020.

“I was the President of the BOI with members/secretary drawn from the NCS, NIS, DSS, NIA, ONSA, NFIU as well as from the Board of Inquiry, which largely conducted its work as an investigative body tasked to investigate circumstances surrounding the illegal smuggling of petroleum products contained in 168 oil tankers into Benin Republic through a single smuggling route in Ilesa Barbara in Kwara State,” he said.

He said the BoI went further “to uncover 295 oil tankers that conveyed Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and the major smugglers identified”.

The petition stated that the BoI made a significant discovery regarding the relationship between the smuggling racket, the terrorism besetting the North-east, and the banditry/kidnapping for ransom which was at its formative stage in the North-west and parts of North-Central geo-political zones.

This, he claimed, included the illegal mining of minerals in the North-west and North-central and large-scale laundering of mostly funds meant for counterterrorism/ insurgency operations that were ongoing mostly in the Northern regions of the country.

“A syndicate which had extensive network in the country as well as being affiliated to international criminal network was as the center of moving finances for terrorism for other criminal activities stated above,” he said.

He added, “It was thus apparent that terrorism and insurgency in the North-east, North-west and North-central were a criminal enterprise and were largely undertaken with profit rather than any ideology, as the primary motive.

“Thus, we, at the BoI arrived at the obvious conclusion that progress cannot be achieved except the financiers, collaborators, supporters and the leadership of the terrorists and insurgents groups are identified and the network dismantled,” he said.

The petitioner said recommendations on the findings were made and submitted to the presidency but were swept under the carpet because of the powerful individuals involved.

The petition said the operation successfully infiltrated the leadership of terror groups in the North-East, which culminated in their decimation, adding that key terrorism financiers were linked to the individuals convicted for terror financing in UAE.

The petitioner noted that trouble started when the task force became “victims of unfair attacks” including starvation of funding for its operations.

“This substantiates the argument that some powerful persons in and outside government as well as from the military were uncomfortable with the task force and specifically my humble self as commander,” he said.

The petitioner said the death of Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, under whose tenure he served as GOC, dealt a blow to the task force as the new army chief, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, removed him as GOC 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna.

He noted that subsequently, the presidency, the AGF became “less helpful”.

According to him, the entire episode culminated in his arrest and detention for 64 days in solitary confinement, where he slept on the floor with consequent health implications.

He lamented that the most painful part of his experience was that President Buhari, who approved his headship of the task force did not come to his rescue.

Begging President Tinubu for his intervention on the matter, he said “kindly cause an investigation into the circumstances surrounding my arrest, detention, maltreatment and compulsory retirement from the Nigerian Army.”

He also sought a review of his compulsory retirement from the army and that it should be commuted to voluntary retirement as well as approved compensation for the expenditure incurred by the task force in hiring vehicles and quarters. This should include compensation for the pains and injuries suffered while incarcerated and approval of personal security, he said.

Austine Ikeru
Follow Me

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.