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Terror Financing: Indicted Publisher Threatens To Sue FG

The publisher of Kaduna-based Desert Herald Newspaper, Tukur Mamu, has written to the Attorney General of the Federation, demanding a retraction of his profiling and designation as a terrorist financier.

This was contained in a letter dated March 25, 2024, written on his behalf by his lawyer, J.J. Usman (SAN), addressed to the Attorney General of the Federation which acknowledged copy was sighted by our correspondent in Kaduna on Tuesday.

The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, last week released a document designating 15 entities, including nine individuals and six Bureau De Change operators and firms, as terrorism financiers.

The NFIU document was titled “Designation of Individuals and Entities for March 18, 2024.”

In the document, the NFIU named Mamu among the terrorism financiers, referencing his alleged role in the Abuja-Kaduna train attack in March 2022.

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According to the document, Mamu “participated in the financing of terrorism by receiving and delivering ransom payments over the sum of $200,000 US in support of ISWAP terrorists for the release of hostages of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.”

As of July 2022, Mamu, who is now in detention, was Media Consultant to the controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.

Last week, Gumi also faulted Mamu’s designation by the NFIU as a terrorism financier.

On Monday, the Federal Government warned Gumi against what it described as reckless statements, threatening that the Islamic cleric could be arrested.

Mamu’s counsel, in his letter to the AGF, contented that the “Nigerian Sanctions Committee lacks the statutory mandate to pronounce on, and to designate Mr. Tukur Mohammed Mamu as a Terrorist Financier.”

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Consequently, according to the letter, the AGF was given a seven-day ultimatum to retract Mamu’s designation as a terrorism financier.

The lawyer questioned why the Federal Government would rush to designate Mamu as a terrorism financier when the criminal case filed against him by the AGF was still in court.

He said it was “lamentable that while the case was still pending in court, the social media was saturated by a publication allegedly emanating from and authorised by your good office.”

“As at the time of this missive, no court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria has designated our client as such.

“It is common knowledge that the administration of the criminal justice system in Nigeria is not only antithetic to but also forbids media trial in whatever guise.

“We vehemently condemn the actions of the Nigerian Sanctions Committee same being a violation of the rule of natural justice and prejudicial to our client, who is undergoing trial, and whose trial is still pending in Suit No: FHCIABJ/CR/96/2023

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“The Nigerian Sanctions Committee lacks the statutory mandate to pronounce on, and to designate Mr. Tukur Mohammed Mamu as a terrorist financier; even when it is a notorious fact that Mr. Tukur Mohammed Mamu is undergoing trial. It is so, particularly that the court has not made any pronouncement detailing him to be one.

“On the basis of the aforesaid, we demand in very clear and unequivocal terms: the immediate retraction of the said publication within seven days from the receipt of this letter dated 25th March 2024.

“Failure to comply with our client’s demand, we will have no hesitation in seeking redress in the Court of law for the ventilation of our client’s grievances.”