Olusegun Adeniyi, a major-general and theatre commander, operation Lafiya Dole, says Boko Haram insurgents are making money from selling fish.
He said this on Friday when four trucks loaded with smoked fish allegedly belonging to the insurgents were intercepted by security operatives on the outskirt of Maiduguri, Borno state.
The general said one of the military’s strategies is to cripple the insurgents’ economy.
He said troops have discovered that the insurgents have been using proceeds from the sale of fish to sustain their activities.
“Fishing is one of the major source of income that boosts the Boko Haram economy. Unfortunately, people from liberated areas who have no regards for lives and properties, or regards for the national cause to end this insurgency, and the common criminals who make money from everything, do go to Boko Haram camps, buy this fish, then bring it to sell in our markets,” he said.
“So, with that, Boko Haram now has a running economy that is generating funds for their dastardly activities.
“Therefore, the authorities said no, this cannot be allowed to go on. Though we have fully recognised the legitimacy of the fishing industry in Nigeria. However, the fishing being done by Boko Haram is to create confusion, continue the insurgency and to sustain their destruction of the Northeast and the country in general.”
The military and Borno state government had banned fishing activities around the Lake Chad, based on the intelligence that the business has been hijacked by the insurgents.
Adeniyi said the ban will be sustained until all Boko Haram activities are satisfactorily degraded.
He said Boko Haram would have stopped the fishing business if not for people who go to buy from them.
“Even when I was the deputy theatre commander, our efforts were out to arrest illegal commerce in fishing. But all the same, some unscrupulous Nigerians will do everything possible to make money even at the expense of the lives and security of their fellow being,” he said.
“But on this day God is with us when our civil defence component of the Theatre intercepted the four vehicles who tried to escape but were effectively outsmarted. They brought them to the army after thorough investigation. The laid down procedure of burning them will be carried out.”
Making reference to the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the commander said the military will not spare anyone caught transporting fish for Boko Haram.
The vehicles with the loaded items were set ablaze, and Adeniyi added that this was to clearly tell law abiding citizens that if they release their vehicles, camel or donkey or canoe to be used for transporting fish for Boko Haram, they will be seen as aiding the insurgents and treated as an enemy of Nigeria.