Group wants security operatives to investigate, prosecute Boko Haram sponsors

Boko Haram

The Arewa Youth Leaders Forum has called on the federal government to expand the scope of operations of the military and other security agencies in the north-east.

The scope should include the identification, investigation, arrest and prosecution of sponsors and beneficiaries of Boko Haram, the group said.

The group, in a statement on Wednesday by its President, Adamu Adamu, urged stakeholders in the north-east who it accused of deliberately sabotaging the federal government’s efforts at restoring peace to the region for personal gains to desist from doing so in the interest of peace.

It also urged the stakeholders to recommit themselves to the war against Boko Haram and terrorism.

It said once the remnants of the Boko Haram fighters and intellectual wing no longer get financial and political lifelines from sympathisers and backers, the war would end once and for all.

“Equally condemnable are those that are exploiting terrorism to further their political interests. People must be made to realise that it is better to make themselves politically acceptable to the electorate as opposed to sponsoring killers to destabilize an entire regions and wantonly waste human life.”

According to Mr. Adamu, the Federal Government must openly take on “these sponsors of terrorism since they have shown that they are not likely to voluntarily have a change of heart and allow the country live in peace.”

Boko Haram, an extremist group based in north-eastern Nigeria, is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon and is responsible for the killing of thousands of people.

The group had alleged links to al-Qaeda, but in March 2015, it announced its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Boko Haram had seized 276 pupils from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on the night of April 14, 2014.

The kidnap has since become a hot political issue in Nigeria, with the government and military criticised for their handling of the incident and the failure to rescue all of the girls.

About 2,000 persons have been reportedly abducted by Boko Haram since 2014, with many of the women used as sex slaves, fighters and even suicide bombers, according to Amnesty International, the London-based human rights organization.

Negotiations between the federal government and the Boko Haram had led to the release of 21 of the girls while another three were freed by soldiers. Dozens of others had escaped on their own.

Despite losing most of the territory they controlled at some point, including the dreaded Sambisa forest to Nigerian troops, the insurgents have kept hold of  195 of the Chibok schoolgirls.

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