…insists terrorists finance themselves through proceeds of kidnapping

Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has risen to the defence of Kaduna-based publisher, Tukur Mamu, and other Nigerians who were accused by the Federal Government are not financing terrorism.

This followed the recent release by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of a list of 15 entities, including nine individuals and six Bureau De Change (BDC) operators and firms, allegedly involved in terrorism financing.

The document, entitled “Designation of Individuals and Entities for March 18, 2024”, revealed that the Nigeria Sanctions Committee met on March 18, 2024, where specific individuals and entities were recommended for sanction following their involvement in terrorism financing.

Incidentally, the released list had the name of Tukur Mamu, Gumi’s ally, who is currently under trial by the Federal Government for allegedly aiding the terrorists who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train in March 2022.

The document claimed that Mamu “participated in the financing of terrorism by receiving and delivering ransom payments over the sum of $200,000 US in support of ISWAP terrorists for the release of hostages of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack”.

But Gumi, reacting to the development on Twitter spaces organised by Daily Trust on Wednesday, disagreed with the Federal Government over the list.

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Gumi argued that the security agencies had no right to label anyone a terrorist financier, claiming that no Nigerian would finance terrorism and that the terrorists finance their operations with monies made from ransom collected from kidnapped victims’ families.

“No Nigerian will put his money into terrorism, we’re beyond that. These people are financing themselves by taking our children for ransom,” Gumi said.

“So, how can we say some people are financing terrorism because there is a misunderstanding between them?

“Now they are looking for N1 billion for these children (kidnap victims) to be released. They (terrorists) financed themselves by kidnapping. I think it’s rubbish to just frame your political opponents as financing terrorism,” he said.

On Manu, Gumi said the embattled publisher should be punished if found guilty by a court of law and court of public opinion.

“Mamu’s case is in the court. Let’s wait to hear from the court. It’s wrong to resort to media trial. Let’s wait for the court to state if he is a financier or not. I think if he is acquitted, he has a strong case to make on libel,” the cleric said.

“Who declares someone a terrorist financier? Is it the court of law or a security agency? The security agency has no right to declare anyone a terrorist financier. The case is already in court, so why are they judging him on the pages of the newspaper? Once a case is in court, you allow the court to decide,” he said.