Some US-based Nigerians are calling for a national and international probe that will uncover the sources of funding of Boko Haram, especially regarding how the terrorist group gets its deadly arms and weapons, Empowered Newswire reports.
In a chat with the news agency after addressing an international press conference in Washington DC, Dr. James Fadele, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN), said it is now imperative for concerned governments, international agencies, global bodies and think tanks to carry out a probe on how the Boko Haram militants are able to get deadly weapons to carry out their mayhem in Nigeria.
The CANAN leader spoke just as the association, which was formed last month in New York, launched its DC/Maryland regional chapter earlier this week. The event took place at an event in Jesus House DC, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, and was attended by Nigerian religious leaders from churches such as the RCCG, Gospel Faith Missions, Jubilee Christian Church International and Christ Apostolic Church.
Speaking earlier on Tuesday at a press conference attended by officials from the US Congress Homeland Security Committee, NGOs and religious groups and leaders in the US, the CANAN leader observed that "Boko Haram is sustained by the procurement of unbelievable amounts of heavy arms and weapons, clearly transported from country to country and certainly funded by some fat pockets."
He then called for a critical investigation into the likely backers of Boko Haram both in Nigeria and outside. CANAN also frowned at the fact that while a number of top known politicians have been linked with Boko Haram, a conclusive investigation and trial has not been done.
"Only last week, it was reported that the Nigerian security outfit, Joint Task Force, JTF, announced that it has caught a Boko Haram commander in the house of a national politician in Borno State," the CANAN leader said.
Recalling that the Nigerian President himself had described the Boko Haram menace as a form of civil war, CANAN leaders who spoke with reporters from several US media also observed that earlier "a serving Nigerian Senator was once accused of links to one of the spokespersons of the deadly group. But we are concerned that all these disclosures don't lead to effective prosecution and justice."
Said Dr. Fadele, who is also the leader of the RCCG in North America, "We are concerned that the investigations often will hit a roadblock and we don't hear anything anymore about what seems like a high-level involvement in terrorism." Restating the need for the US to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, FTO, CANAN leaders said with such a designation "all their top political backers will understand that the stakes are now higher, and they will face a wider net of justice. This in turn will likely curtail them from funding the terrorists.
According to Fadele, "big names and political figures known to be supporting terrorism in any form, should be made to face the music, the lives of innocent Nigerians depend on it!”
On the expressed concern that the US designating Boko Haram an FTO might amount to internationalizing the problem, the Nigerian-American Christians stated, "such a view is already overtaken by events as the group has already threatened international peace, and the problems are no longer entirely domestic or academic."
They drew attention to a report last week that Boko Haram killed a Cameroonian local government official; and another this week in which the BBC said that the Chinese government has filed a diplomatic protest against the killing of a Chinese construction worker in Maiduguri.
According to CANAN, "While we Nigerian-American Christians are the first to affirm the sovereignty of Nigeria, we recognize that Boko Haram is part of the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism and its many aftermaths set in motion after 9/11.
They explained that it was the sincere belief of their group "that the Nigerian government is no longer capable by itself alone to effectively check this group without some drastic international help including the designation of the group as an FTO by the US.
It was observed that Boko Haram is still actively causing death and mayhem in Potiskum, in northeast Nigeria.