Money in the hands of Boko Haram is money that kills. And Boko Haram cannot terrorize without money. Finance networks operated by Boko Haram exist in Nigeria with the potential to penetrate Cameroon official money markets. The financial warfare therefore remains the most efficient soft power responses against international terrorism. One of the most challenging aspects in the war against terror is combating Jihadist terrorist finances. Understandably the financing of terrorism appears to possess a very dynamic agenda metamorphosing and making its comprehension extremely difficult. It is very disturbing to think that Nigeria, the so called giant of Africa has failed to develop the capacity to predict innovations in the method that Boko Haram as a terrorist organizations uses in carrying out their fund raising.
Intrinsically, to carry out terror attacks even as massive as that which took place in Fotokol in Cameroon does not necessarily demand huge sums of funding. However, cutting off the resources both financial and material exploited by Boko Haram through an efficient and effective internationalization of finance surveillance policy may actually deter Boko Haram attacks and preventing the movement of smaller amount of funding can save many lives and property and reduce the devastating impact of Boko Haram attacks which were of course difficult to prevent.
Apart from the operational cost of carrying out a terror attack, Boko Haram is badly in need of funding to undertake recruitment programs, the purchase of sophisticated communication tools, propaganda, planning, and infrastructure. Correspondingly, the policy of internationalization of finance surveillance within the ECOWAS and Sub Saharan regions has the potential to make available routes that can help in intelligence gathering on how a terror attack was staged and revealing the identities of the perpetrators and helping to identify other members and sympathizers who contributed in one way or the other to the attack.
The financial surveillance policy will also help secret service officers gain a better understanding of the modus operandi of Boko Haram’s fighters operating within the Northern regions of Nigeria and Cameroon including Niger. In Cameroon, terror attacks have never been part of our society. Now that they occur on a daily basis, they create serious repercussions in both domestic and international politics and business. For instance, the massacre on Fotokol is causing our government millions of dollars.
Mindful of the difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of the internationalization of finance surveillance policy, evaluations and success stories are not rare on this policy. We of Cameroon Concord think that President Biya should pressure his Nigerian counterpart for the adoption of some measures aimed at countering terrorism. The formulation of these counterterrorism responses should be based on intelligence gathering and sharing, the war on terror which is already going on involving the anti Boko Haram coalition, greater policing, the passing of new anti-terrorism legislations not based on a CPDM intimidation approach such as the terrorism law recently passed in Cameroon, the policies of disruption, prosecution, deportation, control orders, proscription and finance surveillance.
Cameroonians are yet to see any set of financial regulations adopted by Nigeria ranging from assets freezing of people suspected of having links with Boko Haram to requirements demanding the reporting of suspicious transfer of money. We have not seen bank accounts belonging to individuals and cultural and tribal organizations operating in the North of Nigeria being shut down and above all, we have not seen any attempt by the Nigerian government aimed at preventing any financial transactions deep within the informal banking sector in the Northern regions of Nigeria. President Goodluck has not implemented any policy to check fraud, smuggling, extortion which are all means by which Boko Haram moves money around. It is high time we acknowledge that the ranting “Nigeria is the giant of Africa” is a mere empty rhetoric. With our troops already inside Nigeria, President Biya should challenge President Goodluck to get into state business and forget about the distractions coming from the political wing of Boko Haram known in Nigeria as the APC party.