The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has uncovered alarming evidence suggesting that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), alongside bandits and other terror groups, have been channelling funds received through international crowdfunding efforts and sports betting platforms towards terrorist activities within Nigeria.

The NFIU has investigated IPOB’s financial inflows to affiliations across 22 countries, registering at least 27 entities under the group’s banner. Notably, seven of these registrations occurred in the United States, with another six in the United Kingdom.

The unit discovered that IPOB managed to gather over $160,000 via crowdfunding initiatives. This sum was subsequently transferred to entities involved in transmission, media, and broadcasting in Bulgaria, South Africa, and the UK.

Suspicious Transactions: From Betting Platforms to Bank Withdrawals

The NFIU’s analysis also sheds light on IPOB’s banking operations across several countries, revealing deposits from various contributors marked for “monthly dues, services, and ESN (Eastern Security Network)”, among other purposes. These funds were then allocated to support the group’s various activities.

This information emerged from a report by the NFIU’s Counter-Financing of Terrorism Department, as shared in a recent newsletter.

Furthermore, the report provided insights into the organization’s leadership, including detailed profiles of the leader, his international addresses, contact numbers, and associations with 53 other individuals linked to the dissident group. All of these have been passed on to law enforcement for further action.

In a separate but related disclosure, the NFIU highlighted suspicious activities on a sports betting platform, ‘XC,’ involving a 24-year-old from North-Central Nigeria. The young man’s betting account suspiciously received over N350,000, suspected to be proceeds from a kidnapping operation.

A Call for Law Enforcement Vigilance

Additionally, the report uncovered an individual’s attempts to dodge detection by making structured cash withdrawals from various ATMs and purchasing airline tickets to high-risk regions using credit cards. When withdrawal limits were reached, alternative travel arrangements were made.

The NFIU has called on law enforcement to closely monitor transactions linked to known terrorists or their financiers, including unregulated tax collections, donations in areas prone to terrorism, and dubious activities by Bureau de Change operators within suspected networks.

A particular case involved attempted transfers exceeding €1,000 to a charity suspected of terrorist affiliations, alongside transactions for luxury items and escort services, which signalled potential misconduct.

The NFIU urges increased vigilance regarding multiple cash deposits, large transactions through point-of-sale terminals, money transfers to and from high-risk nations, using proxies to open bank accounts, and financial dealings with charities associated with terrorism.

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