A former Intelligence Chief in Mali, San Louis Keita, has accused the Islamic rights group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) of collecting $200,000 from a Boko Haram affiliate.
Specifically, Keita said MURIC collected the money from Islamic State for West Africa Province to destabilise Nigeria.
The intelligence chief made the allegation in Abidjan, the Cote d’Ivoire capital, at a news conference.
Keita, who addressed the media on August 7, 2020, said the money was given to MURIC to recruit young Fulani men living in the South West of Nigeria to destabilise that part of the country.
However, MURIC has refuted the allegation.
The human rights group described the report as a wicked concoction and a lie from the pit of Jahannam.
MURIC’s reaction was signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a rumour making the rounds in mainstream and social media circles that MURIC received $200,000 from ISWAP.
It is a wicked concoction and a lie from the pit of Jahannam. We declare clearly, categorically and unequivocally that we have never had any contact with ISWAP or any other terrorist group.
“It is simply illogical. We have always condemned every act of terror whether it happened within or outside Nigeria.
“The motto of MURIC is ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’.
“So, how can we descend so low as to collect money from terrorists? Such lies will not fly.
“The terrorists themselves know that we can never support them. So how can they give us money? The allegation is dead on arrival. We are a disciplined group.
“We have never been known to engage in any violent protest or attack since we established MURIC in 1994.
“It is most diabolical to accuse a group that has pursued peaceful advocacy for twenty six (26) years of having any connection with terrorists.
“It is an attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“Those who have been persecuting Nigerian Muslims are behind the false allegation.
“They have been used to oppressing Muslims and spreading false propaganda without anybody stopping them until MURIC began to use superior logic to confront them.
“They scampered to safety with their tails between their legs like frightened dogs. They became jittery. They are scared of MURIC and they think the only way to continue their anti-Muslim activities is to first get MURIC out of the way using foul means, including threat of assassination and wicked lies like this.
“Their methods are not only cowardly but devilish. They are desperate. They have been using fake Islamic organisations and fictitious Muslim names to attack us because they are cowards.
“We have received death threats. These attacks are coming from those who feel threatened by MURIC’s defence of Allah-given fundamental human rights of Nigerian Muslims.
“Those who have been oppressing Muslims in Nigeria are jittery. They think the only way out is to eliminate us or smear our reputation. But they have failed.
“Just two months ago, they used a fake Islamic organization to accuse the Director of MURIC of collecting N50 million from Fulani leaders in order to destabilise Yorubaland.
“They label us as slaves and agents of the Caliphate. We suspect that the misinformation was sponsored by those clamouring for the creation of Oduduwa Republic which MURIC has opposed.
“We remain committed to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.
“Contrary to lies that we received these huge amounts of money, we can prove that our organization is very poor.
“Omoyele Sowore, a young presidential candidate who visited our office during the 2019 presidential election was shocked to see the poor condition of our office.
“He found a desolate office: no computers, no printers, no photocopying machines, no scanners, no air conditioners, no plasma television; just tables and chairs. We had just one laptop.
“Sowore said he was surprised that a group whose impact is felt throughout Nigeria operates from such a poor environment.
Sowore is still alive and can be reached. Could we still be poor if we had received N50 million from the Fulanis and $200,000 from ISWAP?
“By the way, we have the right to collect contributions from Nigerian Muslims, including Fulanis but ISWAP is another cup of tea. We will not touch terrorists’ money with a long pole.
“Besides, we could not pay the salaries of our staff and we had to cry out to Nigerian Muslims on social media concerning our plight. That was just last month.
“Of course, Nigerian Muslims promptly came to our aid. From the North and South, Muslims donated with passion. Some gave just N1,000. Others gave more. An 18 year old girl donated N500 from her allowance.
“Is that terrorist money? How can anybody suggest that we collected money from ISWAP or ISIS?
“Our condition started improving as soon as Nigerian Muslims intervened. We put the money contributed to good use. We started renovating and extending our office.
“We boldly and proudly flew Nigeria’s green-white-green flag in front of our office.
“Perhaps our improved condition annoyed our oppressors and that explains the latest attempt to link us with ISWAP.