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NFIU Unveils IPOB Affiliates in 22 Nations

NFIU Identifies Global Network of IPOB Affiliates in 22 Nations

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has disclosed the discovery of 27 affiliates of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) operating within 22 countries globally, notably in the United States and the United Kingdom. This revelation was made in the NFIU’s recent ‘Counter Terrorism Financing Newsletter’, highlighting the extensive reach of the group beyond Nigerian borders.

In 2017, the Nigerian Government labeled IPOB a terrorist organization, following its calls for secession and self-determination, leading to the arrest of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who faces terrorism-related charges.

The intelligence report elaborated on the organizational structure of IPOB, identifying 54 individuals connected to its operations worldwide. According to the NFIU’s findings, the United States and the United Kingdom emerge as significant hubs, hosting seven and six IPOB entities respectively. This international network is supported by various bank accounts used to collect funds under various pretexts such as “Monthly Dues” and “Services for ESN”, which are then allocated to different operational activities.

Crowdfunding by Nigerians abroad, particularly for the group’s militant wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), stands out as a primary revenue source. Notably, transactions exceeding $160,000 were tracked to media and broadcasting services across Bulgaria, South Africa, and the UK, highlighting the sophisticated financial infrastructure supporting IPOB’s agenda.

The report also brings to light a case where a betting platform reported suspicious activities of a 24-year-old Nigerian receiving funds believed to be linked to kidnapping ransoms. Furthermore, it outlines the activities of an individual linked to terrorism, engaging in structured cash withdrawals and suspicious transactions, including attempts to transfer funds to a charity suspected of terrorism ties.

The NFIU’s investigation underscores the complex financial networks used by groups like IPOB and emphasizes the need for vigilance among law enforcement agencies. The unit advises a closer examination of transactions related to known terrorists, unauthorised tax collections, suspicious activities by Bureau de Change operators, and financial links to charities associated with terrorism. This comprehensive approach aims to disrupt the financial foundations of such organizations and curb their ability to operate both domestically and internationally.

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