by ‘Jola Sotubo
The efforts to nip the terror of Boko Haram in the bud are heating up as security troops are reportedly hot on the trail of a businessman suspected of providing the finances for the activities of the sect members.
The move is part of the crackdown currently going on in Borno and Yobe states following the massacre of students at the Yobe State college of Agriculture.
Air raids on suspected Boko Haram camps in the forests between Damaturu and Maiduguri are also ongoing but the military is proceeding with caution in an attempt to avoid civilian casualties, the Defence Headquarters has said.
The Nation reports:
Besides the alleged funding of Boko Haram by Al-Qaeda or Al-Shabaab, security agencies and the military are suspecting the local funding of the insurgency.
It was gathered that a businessman has been fingered as a financier of the sect.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The security agencies are looking into local sources of funding of Boko Haram. We have got intelligence reports of how some individuals had been funding the insurgency in the North East.
“One of those under surveillance is a northern businessman. We have information on him and we have launched manhunt for him.
“We have evidence that the said businessman might have visited the camps of Boko Haram at some point.
“There is a huge network of financing insurgency in the country which we are trying to probe. It goes beyond conventional banking system.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “We have a strong suspicion that the businessman might have acted in concert with some people.”
It was also learnt that the recent slaughtering of Muslims has made the motive of Boko Haram more suspicious to security agencies.
Another security source added: “We are suspecting that the overall plan of Boko Haram might be against the survival of Nigeria as a nation.
“Initially, we thought they were pursuing religious agenda. But with more focus on Muslims, it is apparent that the Boko Haram insurgency is after the decimation of Nigeria.
“This is why the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Goodluck Jonathan, has directed troops to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country. We have got to a stage where all Nigerians(irrespective of religions) have to unite against these insurgents.”
Meanwhile, the ongoing military air raid on Boko Haram camps in the forests between Maiduguri and Damaturu continued yesterday.
A military source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The Defence Headquarters has directed the troops to sustain the air and land raids on all the sighted camps of the insurgents.
“We know that they are establishing new camps between Maiduguri and Damaturu. We will not relent in our campaign until we have been able to arrest the perpetrators of the killing of 62 students in Gujba.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters, Brig. Gen Chris Olukolade, said: “We are sustaining the air raid where necessary and wherever the Boko Haram camps are sighted.”
Asked if there had been any arrest, Olukolade said: “Well, the troops on ground have confirmed the arrest of 15 suspects who are already being screened at the local level there.”