The United Nations has said that a huge ransom was paid to Boko Haram for the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls in March 2018.
The UN report stated that ransom from abductions, donations from charity groups and the cash economy were fuelling the bloody activities of the Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin region.
These were contained in the 22nd Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, pursuant to Resolution 2368 (2017) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated individuals and entities.
The report said the number of doctrinally based non-governmental organisations sending funds to local terrorist groups was growing, and member states were concerned that radicalisation was increasing the threat level in the Sahel.
The report, which was submitted to the Security Council Committee, said, “Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province have had a similar impact in their areas of control, including the Lake Chad basin.
“The predominance in the region of the cash economy, without controls, is conducive to terrorist groups funded by extortion, charitable donations, smuggling, remittances and kidnapping.”
It added, “In Nigeria, 111 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi were kidnapped on 18 February, 2018, and released by ISWAP on 21 March in exchange for a large ransom payment.”
The report was signed by the Coordinator, Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, Edmund Fitton-Brown, and Chair, Security Council Committee, Kairat Umarov.
The UN Security Council committee on al Qaeda sanctions blacklisted and imposed sanctions on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in 2014 after the insurgents kidnapped more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls.
The designation, which came into effect after no objections were raised by the Security Council’s 15 members, subjected Boko Haram to the UN sanctions, including an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban.
The UN Security Council had last week said it remained concerned about the security and humanitarian situation caused by the Boko Haram terrorists and other armed groups in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
The 15-member body in a presidential statement regretted that Central African countries were beset by ongoing terrorist activities, instability and the effects of climate change, and asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to review the work of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa and recommend areas for improvement.
It said, “The Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks carried out in the region, including those perpetrated by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has insisted that it did not pay any ransom to secure the release of the Dapchi girls.
In a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, challenged anyone who had any evidence of payment to publish such
“It is not enough to say that Nigeria paid a ransom, little or huge. There must be a conclusive evidence to support such a claim. Without that, the claim remains what it is: a mere conjecture,’’ the minister said.