The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has called on the federal government to commence an expedited open trial of the 400 alleged Bureau De Change (BDC) accused of funding Boko Haram insurgency.
Ndume made his call following the news that information made available recently by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, that the federal government had arrested some BDC operators facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists to cause mayhem in the North-east.
Ndume, who is representing Borno South Senatorial District (which is currently under Boko Haram siege) in the National Assembly, made the call in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Sunday.
It would be recalled that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, had said recently that the federal government had arrested some BDC operators facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists to cause mayhem in the North-east. He said some Nigerians transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates were working with the BDC operators. He had said, “Bureaus de change are facilitating money to terrorists. We have already worked with the UAE. “Convictions have been achieved of Nigerians who are transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists and this also happens domestically.
Ndume has however insisted that “The presidency should expose the identities of all the BDC operators so far arrested and carry out their trial in public. “If any of them is innocent, he should be allowed to go while those found guilty must be made to face the music.”
He continued: “When I was wrongly accused, I was tried publicly and I was vindicated. The trial lasted six years in an open court. If there is any criminal act linked to anybody. No matter how highly placed, let the evidence be placed before the public, there should be no secret trial.
“Nowadays, criminals are arrested and paraded without further action. Does anybody know what has happened to the people who killed 11 soldiers in Benue State recently? “What happened to those who beheaded policemen in Cross River State?
“If everyone is doing what he is supposed to do as defined by our constitution and laws, we would not have these problems. Citizens should expose suspicious movements.”
According to Ndume “The truth of the matter is that we are facing security challenges that is more intense than the situation before now especially with the new dimensions in addition to the existing ones. “It is a matter of concern. I am of the view that the security and welfare of the citizens should remain paramount.
“We need more personnel in the military and security forces with modern equipment to prosecute the war. “All hands must be on deck. Citizens must provide useful information while the security agents should be adequately empowered with modern weapons to enable them to act fast whenever information is provided.
Ndume further lamented the dire security situation in the country and supported the recent United States’ advisory to its citizens to avoid traveling to many parts of Nigeria.
He said: “I am scared and worried because I don’t have anywhere to run to. Right now I don’t have a visa to any country. “Nigeria is the only country that I have that is why I am so passionate about my country. I believe so much in this country that is why I don’t travel out for my holidays. “I spend all my holidays traveling from one state to another with members of my family. That is why the current security situation is of great concern to me.”