Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The United Nations has said that the Federal Government paid a huge ransom to Boko Haram for the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls in March 2018.
The government had denied reports that it paid millions of Euros for the release of the girls, noting that the hostages were released in exchange for detained Boko Haram commanders.
But the UN report stated that ransom from abductions, donations from charity groups and the cash economy were fueling the bloody activities of the Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin region.
These were contained in the 22nd Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, pursuant to resolution 2368 (2017) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated individuals and entities.
The report said the number of doctrinally based non-governmental organisations sending funds to local terrorist groups was growing, and the Member States were concerned that radicalisation was increasing the threat level in the Sahel.
The report, which was submitted to the Security Council Committee said, “Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province have had a similar impact in their areas of control, including the Lake Chad basin.
“The predominance in the region of the cash economy, without controls, is conducive to terrorist groups funded by extortion, charitable donations, smuggling, remittances and kidnapping.”
It added, “In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February 2018 and released by ISWAP on 21 March in exchange for a large ransom payment.”
The report was signed by Edmund Fitton-Brown, Coordinator, Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team and Kairat Umarov, Chair, Security Council Committee.
The UN Security Council committee on al Qaeda sanctions blacklisted and imposed sanctions on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in 2014 after the insurgents kidnapped more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls.
The designation, which came into effect after no objections were raised by the Security Council’s 15 members, subjected Boko Haram to UN sanctions, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban. (Punch)