Freelance investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, has outlined with details how the late Eritrean founder of Nasco Group, manufacturers of the popular Nasco Cornflakes, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, along with some prominent northern figures, allegedly financed regional terrorism, including Boko Haram, in Africa.
Hundeyin made this expose in a report titled “Cornflakes for Jihad: The Boko Haram Origin Story” and published on Westafricaweekly, a news subscription platform operated by Hundeyin and powered by substack.com.
In the report, Hundeyin claims that, contrary to the notion that Boko Haram, a jihadist terror group operating mostly in Nigeria, was founded by Mohammed Yusuf, Boko Haram was a part of a long chain of Islamic Jihadist agenda spanning years of planning and funding, long before it made its first major attack on the Nigerian soil.
“To those in the know however, the incidents of December 25, 2011 are not only expected, but are likely to intensify and become more regular. This is because while the Nigerian public up to this point has been fed with what amounts to a tiny percentage of the actual story behind the Boko Haram group, this group has in fact been incubating and nurtured at the highest levels of the theological, economic and political spaces in Northern Nigeria. Boko Haram in reality, is so much bigger than Mohammed Yusuf and Abubakar Shekau that reducing it to those 2 men serves to miss the actual story spectacularly.”– David Hundeyin
The report claims prominent northern figures Yakubu Musa Kafanchan, also known as Sheikh Yakubu Musa Katsina and Yakubu Musa Hassan, with serious ties to Abubakar Ahmed Gumi and Isa Pantami, current Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, were known by the Nigerian authorities since 2002 to have funded terrorism in Nigeria. They were arrested by the Nigerian government and were later inexplicably released after 27 days in detention, according to a Wikileak cable.
In 2006, A court judgement published in Hundeyin’s report shows that the Nigerian authorities obtained it to freeze bank accounts and assets belonging to Ahmed Idris Nasreddin‘s Nasco Group, along with bank accounts belonging to the duo of Yakubu Musa Kafanchan and Yakubu Musa Hassan for alleged involvements and funding of terror activities in Nigeria.
To emphasize the duo’s involvement in terror and jihadist movements in Nigeria, the report says “Yakubu Musa Kafanchan, also known as Sheikh Yakubu Musa Katsina and Yakubu Musa Hassan were founding members of the Izala Movement (JIBWIS) – an extremist driven Islamic organization – and Hassan is in fact, the current Chairman of its board of trustees and the Chairman of the Katsina State JIBWIS chapter.”
The Izala Movement (JIBWIS)
According to Wikipedia, Izala Society or Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah (Society of Removal of Innovation and Re-establishment of the Sunnah), also called JIBWIS, is a Salafi movement originally established in Northern Nigeria to fight what it sees as the bid’ah (innovation) practiced by the Sufi brotherhoods. It is one of the largest Sunni societies in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.
The Izala Movement anchors its objectives on the same beliefs with the Boko Haram Terror group, which literally translates to “Western education is forbidden,” in English.
While Wikipedia cites Abubakar Mahmud Gumi as the founder of Izala Movement, a paper obtained by REPORT AFRIQUE and written by Ramzi Ben Amara of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2012 writes that the original JIBWIS was founded by Shaykh Ismaila Idris (1937 – 2000). Both Ismaila Idris and Abubakar Mahmud Gumi were officers in the Nigerian army at that time.
The headquarters of the Izala Movement remains in Jos, Nigeria. This is the same with that of the Nasco Group, quoted as a major employer of labour in the area.
Izala Movement, Boko Haram and the Nasco Group’s Algerian Connection
Hundeyin’s report links Ahmed Idris Nasreddin to terror cells established in Algeria. These cells were used to train Nigerian Jihadists in 2002, who would return to Nigeria to “make up the core of what will later become known as “Boko Haram.” And – what a coincidence – NASCO is also based in Jos, which so happens to be the headquarters of the Izala Movement and its many North African dalliances. “
The Algerian Terror Cells would later provide funding and support worth N40,000,000 ($250,000 at the time) to facilitate series of bomb attacks in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2011 killing 35 people and wounding 52 persons, according to testimonies by a masked witness during the trial of the main suspect in the attacks, Kabiru Umar A.K.A Kabiru Sokoto, in Nigeria, the report says.
Abubakar Mahmud Gummi’s Saudi Links and Extremism
This particular history of jihadist agenda, Hundeyin claims, would date back to 1955 when then 33-year-old Islamic scholar-Late Abubakar Mahmud Gummi – and Sir Ahmadu Bello – then Sardauna of Sokoto and later premier of the northern region – travelled to Mecca for Hajj pilgrimage. The journey would serve as a pedestal to cementing a good relationship between the two northerners and the Saudi royals.
After the assassination of Ahmadu Bello in 1966, this relationship would lead to Saudi Arabia funding, through Gumi, its state’s official interpretation of Islam, which is based on the work of 18th century Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, in Nigeria. This fundamentalist doctrine is often known as Wahabbism, a form of teachings that is non-tolerant to other religions and advocates a Muslim only Nigerian state.
Gumi’s Wahabbism teachings would include a call for “Muslims should never accept a non-Muslim as ruler, which can be interpreted as a call for insurrection against a Christian Nigerian president,” the report states.
Abubakar Mahmud Gummi is the father of Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, an Islamic cleric and former military officer with the rank of captain in the Nigeria Defense Academy. He is the current Mufti and mufassir at the Kaduna central mosque Sultan Bello and often negotiates between the Nigerian government and armed bandits.
Ahmad Gumi has openly advocated for amnesty for armed bandits despite the atrocities which they have committed and continue to commit till date. He has been accused of fostering jihadist and criminal agenda with the bandits.
Nasco Group’s International and Regional Terrorism Allegations
Documents and reports cite that authorities in the US and Italy had detailed knowledge of Nasreddin‘s involvement with Al Qaeda as way back as 2002. Reports by the US Treasury Department detailed a comprehensive account of how he laundered and moved money around the world for terrorist entities. This report also cited Nasreddin‘s involvement with GSPC – the Algerian terrorist group. A group which Yakubu Katsina and Shahru Haruna are also said to be involved with around the same time and which later founded Boko Haram’s bomb attacks in Nigeria.
Consequently, President Bush personally announced freezing the assets of Nasreddin’s bank, Al Taqwa.
“Al Taqwa is an association of offshore banksand financial management firms that have helped al-Qaida shift money around the world,” Bush said on Nov. 7, 2001.
Will Anyone Answer to These Allegations?
Despite these allegations of involvement with terrorism, neither Nasreddin, 96, who died in May, 2021, nor his Nigerian partners are on trial for these alleged crimes.
Both Yakubu Musa Kafanchan (Katsina) and Yakubu Musa Hassan currently own and operate registered businesses in Nigeria and live as free men along with their partners, some occupying top positions in the Muhammadu Buhari’s government.