SIX Nigerians have been handed jail sentences by an Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after their conviction for funding terrorist sect Boko Haram was upheld.
At the hearing, the appellate court upheld a lower court ruling which found that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were involved in cash transfers totalling $782,000 to Boko Haram. Two of the convicted Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu were subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
Four others named as Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa, got 10-year prison sentences each. Their act was deemed contrary to Article 29, Clause 3 of the UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017.
According to the UAE’s National Security Bureau, the investigation of the Nigerians confirmed their involvement and membership of the Boko Haram. They were arrested between April 16 and 17, 2017 and their homes searched after a search warrant was issued by the National Security Prosecution office dated April 16, 2017.
Abubakar and Adamu were charged for joining Boko Haram knowingly in negation of Article 22/2 of UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law No 7 of 2017 punishable by death or life imprisonment. Alhassan, Musa, Yusuf and Isa for their part were charged with assisting the sect knowingly, which under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, is punishable by life imprisonment or at least five years in jail.
According to the court, most of the transactions were facilitated by two undercover Boko Haram agents based in Nigeria. One of them was named as Alhaji Sa’idu, while the other, one Alhaji Ashiru, was described as a Nigerian government official, who reportedly funnelled misappropriated public funds to terrorists.
According to the court, Sa’idu’s modus operandi was using unidentified Arab persons on a visit to Dubai from Turkey to hand over US dollars to one of the convicts, who would then remit naira equivalents to the agent. However, the families of the convicts say they were framed, insisting their bureau de change business in the UAE was legitimate.