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IPOB raises $160,000 through monthly dues, crowdfunding – NFIU

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IPOB

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has disclosed that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) raised over $160,000 through monthly dues and crowdfunding efforts.

This finding is part of the revelations in the NFIU’s “Counter Terrorism Financial Newsletter,” which highlights the sophisticated financial network of the IPOB, linked to 54 individuals around the globe.

IPOB has 27 registered entities globally

A detailed investigation by the NFIU into the financial operations of the IPOB revealed that diaspora affiliates of the group are spread across 22 countries. The report identified 27 entities globally registered under the group’s name, with the highest number of registrations in the United States and the United Kingdom, having 7 and 6 respectively.

Several bank accounts in different countries were found to be receiving funds for various pretexts such as “Monthly Dues, Services, and for ESN” from numerous contributors. These funds are then directed towards various operations.

The NFIU document read:

  • “Following receipt of the request, NFIU confirmed that the diaspora affiliates of the IPOB group have spread over 22 (twenty-two) countries across the globe. Further analysis exposed 27 entities across the globe registered in the name of the group, the US and the UK had the highest number of registrations, having 7 and 6 registered entities respectively.
  • “The analysis further indicates that the group has several bank accounts in different countries where funds are being received from various contributors with the narrations “Monthly Dues, Services and for ESN” among others, then later disbursed for various operations. It was confirmed that one of the major sources of revenue for the group is crowdfunding by several individuals abroad, mostly Nigerians.
  • “It was observed that over $160,000 (One hundred and sixty thousand Dollars) was disbursed to Transmission, Media, and Broadcasting companies in Bulgaria, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Analysis profiled the leader of the group, his addresses, and mobile numbers abroad with other 53 individuals associated with the dissident group. The report was forwarded to Law Enforcement for further investigation.”

Kidnappers use betting accounts for ransom transactions

A separate case highlighted by the NFIU involves the use of a betting platform for ransom transactions related to kidnapping. The case involves a betting platform reporting a suspicious transaction of a customer, a 24-year-old from the North-Central region of Nigeria. This individual received over N350,000 in his betting wallet, suspected to be a ransom paid by the relatives of a kidnapping victim.

The document noted:

  • “A betting platform, XC, filed a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) on customer A, a 24-year-old residing in the North-Central region of Nigeria. Customer A received over N350,000.00 in his betting wallet, suspected to be a kidnap ransom paid by the victim’s relatives.
  • “Customer A attempted to transfer the funds to his bank account but was declined. The funds’ source is the victim’s relatives, and customer A is linked to the betting wallet, raising concerns of potential involvement in the kidnapping and ransom collection. Post analysis, the NFIU forwarded the report to a Law Enforcement Agency for a thorough investigation.”

NFIU calls for vigilance

The NFIU further urged law enforcement agencies to scrutinize transactions linked to known terrorists or financiers, unauthorized tax collections, or forced donations in areas vulnerable to terrorism.

Several areas of concern have been highlighted, including Bureau de Change (BDC) operators facilitating suspicious transfers and individuals involved in multiple cash deposits in bank accounts.

The agency also warns against the recruitment of individuals to open multiple bank accounts and financial transfers to charities linked to terrorism, emphasizing the need for rigorous investigation in these areas to effectively combat financial terrorism.

More Insights

  • Nairametrics earlier reported that Nigeria may get blacklisted if it fails to exist on the Grey List of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by May 2025.
  • The FATF added Nigeria to its list of countries under monitoring for money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes, designated as Grey List in February 2023. This listing required the country to implement an action plan comprising 19 items before May 2025 to avoid the greater danger of upgrading to the Black List which comes with some economic consequences.
  • In a recent report, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA) noted that “Nigeria has not explicitly criminalised the financing of foreign terrorist fighters.”

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