An Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sentenced Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu to life in prison. Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were each given a ten-year sentence.
This came after the court upheld the six Nigerians convictions for funding the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Daily Trust reported that the accused were initially tried and convicted last year following their arrest in 2017.
They were said to have been convicted and sentenced to jail last year, while there appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal was unsuccessful.
The verdict of the Court indicated that between 2015 and 2016, the six Nigerians transferred $782,000 into bank accounts in favour of some Boko Haram insurgents, even as associates defended their actions, saying there was nothing criminal about the transaction.
Muhammad and the five other co-defendants, in the charge filed against them, were accused of funding a terror group (Boko Haram) by facilitating transfers of money from Dubai to Nigeria for alleged terror operations.
Their activities were said to have contravened Article 29, Clause 3 of UAE’s Federal Law No 7 of 2017 with regards to anti-terrorism law.
The defendants who are said to be confirmed members of the dreaded Boko Haram group were arrested between April 16 and 17, 2017, following a search warrant issued by UAE National Security Bureau, after which there houses were searched and incriminating documents that led to their trial were found.
The paper had reported that, “The first and second accused were said to have been charged for joining the Boko Haram group in Nigeria knowingly, which is a crime punishable under Article 22/2 of the Federal Law No 7 of 2017 with regards to anti-terrorism punishable by death or life imprisonment.
“The third, fourth, fifth and sixth accused were charged with assisting the terror group knowingly, which is a crime under Article 31, Clause 1 of the same law, and is punishable by life imprisonment or jail for not less than five years under the UAE law.”
The national daily also reported that almost all the transactions that indicted the defendants were initiated by two undercover Boko Haram agents Alhaji Sa’idu and Alhaji Ashiru based in Nigeria from where they were facilitating the funding transactions.
Ashiru, alleged to be “a Nigerian government official” was said to have facilitated the transfer of misappropriated public funds to the group.
There is every likelihood that the defendants were deceived in the course of carrying out their legitimate bureau de change transactions not aware that such transactions formed part of proceeds connected to Boko Haram, according to relatives of the defendants.