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Terrorism: Ali-Keffi’s allegation must not be ignored, experts insist

Experts have advised the Federal Government not to ignore the allegation by former General Officer Commanding (GOC) that terrorism is a criminal enterprise rather than any ideology.

A national daily had reported that former GOC, 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen Danjuma Ali-Keffi, wrote to President Bola Tinubu over his arrest, detention and compulsory retirement, following revelations of a presidential investigative task force he headed, which indicted senior government officials, a top banker and top military brass in terrorism financing.

The General headed Operation Service Wide (OPSW) set up by former President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate those involved in terrorism financing. Ali-Keffi said he headed a Board of Inquiry (BoI) convened by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), which sat in the Office of the NSA for five weeks from early January.

“I was the President of the BoI with members/secretary drawn from the Nigeria Customs service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and ONSA, as well as from the BoI, which largely investigates circumstances surrounding the illegal smuggling of petroleum products contained in 168 oil tankers into Benin Republic through a single smuggling route in Ilesa Barbara, Kwara State.

According to him, the entire episode culminated in his arrest, detention for 64 days in solitary confinement, where he slept on the bare floor with consequent health implications.

He lamented that the most painful part of his experience was that then President Buhari, who approved his headship of the taskforce, did not come to his rescue. He, therefore, sought the intervention of Tinubu in the matter.

He prayed the President to cause an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his arrest, detention, maltreatment and compulsory retirement from the Army. He also sought a review of his compulsory and to turn it to voluntary retirement, as well as approve compensation for the cost incurred by the taskforce in hiring of vehicle and quarters.

A retired Director of DSS, Dennis Amachree, said: “These are weighty allegations by General Ali-Keffi and should not be ignored. Only a thorough investigation by the NSA will unearth these allegations.
“The NSA should assure Nigerians that this is not another case of corruption actually fighting back and winning. The significant discovery of an alleged criminal enterprise needs to be investigated further.”
President of Human Rights Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, described Ali-Keffi’s revelations as facts. He agreed with the late military Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, that if terrorism lasts beyond two weeks, then the government is behind it.
Onwubiko added: “I doubt if the President can go very far to investigate Buhari and some former governors from the North suspected to be sponsors of terrorists because some of these persons are actively working within the administration of Tinubu.” 

Source: The Guardian