Borno South senator Ali Ndume has opposed moves by the Muhammadu Buhari government to opt for a secret trial of the 400 Bureau de Change (BDC) operators alleged to be financial sponsors of Boko Haram.
The businessmen were arrested a week ago by security operatives in an operation by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The operation was said to have been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020.
“The presidency said recently that Nigerians would be shocked if it revealed the identities of those who are sponsoring Boko Haram insurgents,” Ndume told reporters in Abuja on Sunday.
“Can you imagine that 400 BDC operators are the people funding Boko Haram?
“When the BDC operators are arrested, what will the government do with them? The presidency is already saying their case is confidential. What is confidential about it?”
Ndume urged the Buhari government to expose the identity of the sponsors and those arrested. He said those found guilty must be brought to justice.
“The presidency should expose the identities of the BDC operators so far arrested and carry out their trial in public,” Ndume said.
“If any of them is innocent, he should be allowed to go while those found guilty must be made to face the music.
“When I was wrongly accused, I was tried publicly and I was vindicated. The trial lasted six years in an open court. If there is any criminal activity linked to anybody, no matter how highly placed, let the evidence be placed before the public, there should be no secret trial.
“Nowadays, criminals are arrested and paraded without further action. Nobody knows what happened to the people who killed 11 soldiers in Benue State recently? What happened to those who beheaded policemen in Cross River State?
“If everyone is doing what he is supposed to do as defined by our constitution and laws, we would not have these problems. Citizens should expose suspicious movements.”
Justice minister and attorney-general Abubakar Malami (SAN) was, according to reports, unhappy and angry about the recent arrest of some persons allegedly funding Boko Haram terrorists, including operators of some Bureax De Change said to have been facilitating the transfer of money to the terrorists.
According to a top source, apart from Malami opposing the raid, the AGF also opposed having the names of those arrested released to the public.
“Malami was opposed to the raid and now he opposes having the names of those arrested revealed. So, he is fighting the task force that carried out the raid. He is saying it was illegal.
“You see, some of those arrested were people he had freed through his Special Fiat Court that sat in Niger state and parts of Abuja. Those guys are wealthy and he wants to collect money from them and let them off,” the source told Sahara Reporters.