A large chunk of the finances of Boko Haram may be passing through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), an Australian with close links to the militant group has told TheCable.
Dr Stephen Davis, who was in Nigeria for four months trying to negotiate with Boko Haram to release the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, said Boko Haram commanders told him a senior CBN official, who cannot be named by TheCable for legal reasons, was fully involved in the funding of the insurgency.
Davis, who spoke with TheCable on phone from Australia in his first interview with a Nigerian journalist, said Western countries could not trace the majority of the source of funding to Boko Haram because “it is done through a legal channel, through the gatekeeper, the CBN, and that makes it very easy to cover up”.
He said Boko Haram commanders told him a senior CBN official, who currently works in the bank’s currency operations division, was the one handling the transactions.
“One of the biggest of suppliers of arms and military uniforms to the JAS (Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, better known as Boko Haram) currently lives in Cairo, Egypt. He is the recipient of money sent by political sponsors from Nigeria. The funds go through the CBN’s financial system and appear to be a legal transaction.
“Meanwhile, the CBN official who handles the funding is an uncle to three of those arrested in connection with the Nyanya bombings. The three boys lived with him. They were arrested by the SSS (Department of State Security) after the bombings but they do not seem to have been interrogated about their uncle in CBN. Or if they have given up information about their uncle then the SSS has not moved against him.”
“Also, a senior official of CBN, who recently left the bank, was very close to Sodiq Aminu Ogwuche, the mastermind of the Nyanya bombings who also schooled in Sudan. Boko haram commanders said Ogwuche’s wife used to visit this top official in his office at the headquarters of the bank in Abuja before the Nyanya bombings. They were very close,” Davis said.
The former Canon Emeritus at Coventry Cathedral, UK, said he decided to come out to speak now because the Nigerian authorities were not acting fast and he was heart-broken by the evils being done to the kidnapped Chibok girls and the many other girls and boys being kidnapped.
“I have three daughters. I just cannot stand the thought of what those girls are passing through. I have spoken to an escapee who described how she was being raped for 40 days by militants. I can’t stand it. It is heart-breaking. Nigerian authorities must act decisively now,” he said, revealing that he spent “days and weeks” with commanders of Boko Haram in the north-east during his time in Nigeria.
Davis, 63, holds a PhD in political geography from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Below are excerpts from the exclusive interview with TheCable.