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Owner Of Nigerian Company Awarded Multi-million Naira Contract To Secure Abuja Rail Tracks, Stations Has Alleged Links To Terrorism Financing

Owner Of Nigerian Company Awarded Multi-million Naira Contract To Secure Abuja Rail Tracks, Stations Has Alleged Links To Terrorism Financing
August 26, 2022

Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’ah wa Ikamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), the Islamic group headed by Bala-Lau has at different times been linked to terrorism financing in the country.

One of the two security outfits awarded the contract to protect the 45-kilometre Abuja rail tracks and stations by the Nigerian government is owned by the National Chairman, Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’ah wa Ikamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), Abbdullahi Bala-Lau.

An investigation done by Nigerian investigative journalist, David Hundeyin revealed that Messers Al-Ahli Security Guards Limited is owned by the leader of the radical Izala movement.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello on Wednesday announced the award of the N718 million contract to Messers Al-Ahali Security Guards Limited and Messers Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited.

This was done in response to the terrorist attack on the rail line between Abuja and Kaduna, which forced the government to suspend the service.

Terrorists had used explosives placed along the tracks to derail a Kaduna-bound train with hundreds of passengers on March 28, 2022.

In addition to the scores of victims who were abducted, many of whom are still in captivity, some passengers were killed in the attack.

The tragedy occurred a few days after terrorists raided the Kaduna International Airport.

“Al-Ahali security guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometers of the track, covering eight stations at the cost of N407, 214,000 over a two-year period, while Seaguard Securities and Protective Company Limited is going to secure 18 kilometers of the rail tracks including four railway stations and that is at a cost of N310, 979,250,” the minister had said.

However, a check on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) showed that Al-Ahali which has its head office in Yola, capital city of Adamawa is owned by Alhaji Bala-Lau.


Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’ah wa Ikamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), the Islamic group headed by Bala-Lau has at different times been linked to terrorism financing in the country.

In 2021, an investigative report by Hundeyin revealed how the late NASCO Group’s multimillionaire founder, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and Yakubu Musa Kafanchan, also known as Sheikh Yakubu Musa Katsina, an ally of Nigeria’s terror-linked Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, funded Islamic terror cells in 2002.

Yakubu Musa Katsina also known as Yakubu Musa Hassan is a renowned Islamic scholar and a member of the founding leaders of one of the largest Islamic organizations in West Africa JIBWIS, where he still serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

According to the report published on West Africa Weekly, Hassan is a founding member of the Izala Movement (JIBWIS) and the Chairman of the Katsina State JIBWIS chapter.

They were alleged to have funded the activities of people like Kabiru Sokoto, the mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing of the St. Theresa Roman Catholic Church on December 25, 2011 in Madalla, Niger State which killed 37 Christians.

The report read in part, “Nasreddin was an Eritrean who moved to Jos in Nigeria’s Plateau State, and grew his father’s small manufacturing business into a $460 million conglomerate involved in everything from breakfast cereal and confectionery to pharmaceuticals, real estate and energy. After many years of growth and success, he eventually handed his sprawling business empire over to his son Attia Nasreddin, and retired at an old, satisfied age.

“What on earth could this shrewd, respectable businessman who looked like he could not hurt a fly have done, to put him in the same article as a story about the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation? Why would the brand he built, which to many Nigerians evokes memories of a beloved childhood breakfast staple, appear in the same sentence as Boko Haram?

“To answer these questions, our story begins on another continent in 1955, some 8 years before his father would move to Nigeria and establish NASCO Group. The year is 1955, and a 33-year-old Islamic scholar from Gummi in modern day Zamfara State has made his way to Mecca for his first Hajj pilgrimage. Alongside him is a certain Ahmadu Bello, who is the Premier of Northern Nigeria.

“During this trip, the scholar impresses both Ahmadu Bello and the Saudi King Sa’ud with his Arabic translation skills. He rapidly makes a big impression on many locals and clerics in Mecca. These relationships will later become his most valuable asset following the events that take place after his subsequent return to Nigeria.

“Upon returning to Nigeria, he takes up positions teaching Arabic Studies at Islamic schools in Kano and Kaduna. His style of teaching focuses on educating his students about the differences between Islamic religious doctrine and local customs. Based on his strict Sunni understanding of the Qur’an, he teaches his students to adopt a ‘pure’ Islamic identity at the expense of practises that he considered bid’ah (roughly translated as ‘innovation’ or ‘corruption’).

“He also becomes the first Islamic scholar to translate the Qur’an from Arabic into Hausa, which puts him in a uniquely influential position comparable to that of Ajayi Crowther in 19th century southwestern Nigeria. Using this leverage, he becomes an increasingly powerful figure in Northern Nigeria, with his essentialist views on Islamic doctrine gaining popularity.

“To him, the existing Sufi orders of Northern Nigeria are polluted with bid’ah and unfit for purpose. He becomes well known for attacking the Tijaniya and Qadriyya brotherhoods during his appearances on Radio Kaduna, while advocating for a ‘return’ to ‘Islamic purity.’

“Following the death of his friend and benefactor Ahmadu Bello, the scholar finds himself in a precarious situation. The new Nigerian federal government led by soldiers has a motive to crack down on anyone who is outspoken and influential. He may be a giant in Northern Nigeria, but he is a giant with feet of clay. His solution is to seek financial, doctrinal and political help from his friends in Mecca. The Saudis, as always, are ready to help.

“His Saudi backers are keen to use him to espouse the Saudi Arabian state’s official interpretation of Islam, which is based on the work of 18th century Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab. This fundamentalist doctrine, often known as Wahabbism fits very closely with the teachings of our hero in Northern Nigeria, and he enthusiastically sets about gathering support for this new Saudi-funded project.

“These efforts bore fruit in Nigeria's Muslim northern region with the creation of a movement (the Izala Society) dedicated to wiping out ritual innovations. Essential texts for members of the Izala Society are Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's treatise of God's unity and commentaries by his grandsons. Reaching out to his erstwhile students across Kaduna and Kano over the course of the 1970s, the scholar-turned-politician slowly builds a coalition of strategically-aligned individuals who will someday become very powerful people in Northern Nigeria.

“In 1978, one of his prominent students, Sheikh Ismaila Idris takes charge of this increasingly powerful but somewhat unofficial movement, and calls it Jama'atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah (Society of Removal of Innovation and Re-establishment of the Sunnah), also known as JIBWIS.

“Based in Jos and known colloquially as the Izala Movement, this organisation will go on to become the most influential Islamic body in Nigeria over the next few decades. Its members will become some of Nigeria’s most revered Imams and clerics.

“They will achieve high ranks in the Nigerian Armed Forces. JIBWIS will come to exert a level of influence over Nigeria’s national politics and governance that is unprecedented for a religious body in Nigeria. Soon, it will become almost impossible to achieve power in many parts of Northern Nigeria without identifying with the Izala Movement.

“Among other things, the scholar states that Muslims should never accept a non-Muslim as ruler, which can be interpreted as a call for insurrection against a Christian Nigerian president.

“Fast forward 33 years. It is Christmas Day in 2011 and Abubakar Gumi has been dead for over 19 years. A bomb suddenly goes off at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, on the outskirts of Abuja, killing 35 people and wounding a further 52. Almost simultaneously, a series of coordinated bomb attacks and shootings take place at churches in Jos, Gadaka and Damaturu. An obscure Islamist group calling itself Boko Haram claims responsibility for the attacks.

“During the trial of the main suspect Kabiru Umar A.K.A Kabiru Sokoto 2 years later, a masked witness claims that an Algerian Islamist group provided funding and support worth N40,000,000 ($250,000 at the time) to carry out the attacks. To the general public, it is unclear what the link is between Islamists in Northern Nigeria and well-funded terror groups in North Africa.”

In April 2022, Godwin Alabi-Isama, a retired Army General also linked the founder of NASCO Group to terrorism financing in the country.

In an interview with TVC, the retired General claimed he learned about Nasreddin and his role as a sponsor of the peaceful Izala movement during his time as an instructor at the military school in Jos.

“Ambassador Wali wrote a letter to the chairman of the United Nations Counter Insurgency about Ahmed Nasreddin in Jos when I was an instructor at the military school in Jos. All students of military school went to training at Naraguta in Jos, I took them there, so we knew NASCO,” Alabi-Isama had said.

“It is true that he made a lot of money in Nigeria, but he was financing a peaceful Islamic group called Izala. Jama’atu Izalatul Bid’ah Wa’Ikamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS) is another name for it.

“But by the time they (Izala movement) got involved with the Algerian group, which is called GSPC. They were now saying pamphlet alone is not enough to spread Islam, it has to be pamphlet and conflicts and that was how Izala movement got to where they are now.”

Isama added that “Baba Nasreddin was funding the Izala movement until he died in May last year at the age of 96.”

Days after the Army General’s revelation, Bala-Lau refuted the accusations, saying Izala movement (JIBWIS) is a peaceful organisation and will not tolerate the slandering of its reputation.

He said the Islamic group had much earlier dismissed very “serious, nefarious, wild and grievous allegations contained in an online publication of 3rd October 2021, entitled ‘The Cornflakes for Jihad: The Boko Haram Origin’, a concocted story lacking in substance by one, David Hundeyin”.

In the statement, Bala-Lau said “notable Islamic Clerics such as Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, Sheikh Ismaila Idris, Sheikh Yakubu Musa Hassan, Sheikh Ja’far Mahmud Adam, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, among others were discredited.”

The organisation also urged Alabi-lsama to immediately retract his baseless allegations made on ‘national television’ and tender an apology to JIBWIS.


The group said if he fails to do so, it would be left with no option but to approach the appropriate authorities for necessary further action.

The statement had read, “Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’a Wa Iqamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS) has much earlier dismissed very serious, nefarious, wild and grievous allegations contained in an online publication of 3rd October, 2021, entitled ‘The Cornflakes for Jihad: The Boko Haram Origin’, a concocted story lacking in substance by one, David Hundeyin in which notable Islamic Clerics such as Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, Sheikh Ismaila Idris, Sheikh Yakubu Musa Hassan, Sheikh Ja’far Mahmud Adam, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, among others were discredited. Except for the recent outburst on a National Television by one Retired Nigerian Army General, Brig-Gen. Godwin Alabi-Isama reiterating almost the same unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, JIBWIS Nigeria had not intended to grace them with a response.

“Let it be abundantly clear that JIBWIS, is a peaceful and peace-loving Islamic organization with track record of decades of peace building efforts evident across the sub-saharan Africa. Therefore, JIBWIS is not interested in any politically sponsored corporate war between NASCO Group and its competitors, but with time and repeated propaganda, JIBWIS understands that it was a carefully orchestrated smear campaign against it and its clerics peddled by some faceless conspiracy theorists hiding behind freedom of speech to create apprehension and mistrust among citizenry.

“It is in this regard that JIBWIS wishes to make it clear beyond any dot of doubt that it is not financed by any corporate entity in Nigeria or across the world. It is therefore not only dangerous, but grossly unfair to allege that JIBWIS has any financial links to NASCO Group and its late CEO, Muhammad Nesreddin, the Algerian GSPC or to think that JIBWIS shares any affiliations whatsoever with any other organization anywhere in the world. It is instructive to note that JIBWIS, being a transparent religious organization with millions of followers does not conduct its operations in secrecy and has never enjoyed any financial benefits from even the most reputable Islamic organizations of like interests across the globe, let alone some business conglomerate.

“The major financial source of JIBWIS is its members who contribute en masse to fund its projects and programmes. JIBWIS has never been violent since its inception. Its proselytizing methodology is acceptable and attested to as being fair and consistently remarkable in line with Islamic teachings. JIBWIS will never abandon the “pamphlets” (books) for the “cons” (conflict) as alleged by Godwin.

“It is obvious that JIBWIS has now become a dust in the eyes of some unpatriotic elements necessitating these calculated campaigns of calumny. The allegations against JIBWIS or any of its Clerics is frivolous, mischievous and has no figment of truth, hence condemned. We therefore, unequivocally deny it in strongest terms. JIBWIS equally wishes to sound a note of warning to any notorious person or group peddling wild conjectures such as this to desist from further spreading of falsehood as we shall no longer tolerate any form of such unguarded, unsubstantiated and injurious comments against JIBWIS and shall take every necessary action within the ambit of the Law to seek redress.

“We wish to use this medium to urge Brig-Gen. Godwin AlabiIsama (retd.) to immediately retract his baseless allegations made on National Television and tender an apology to JIBWIS. Otherwise, we will be left with no option but to approach the appropriate authorities for necessary further action. JIBWIS equally wishes to advise the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force to as a matter of necessity and in the overall interest of National Security, take note of individuals and groups who sit within their comfort zones and make unfounded allegations against well meaning, highly respected religious organizations with clean record such as JIBWIS, as such actions are capable of incitement.

“JIBWIS wishes to further stress that it does not wish to join issues with anyone, however, will not tolerate backstabbing from any person or group, no matter how highly placed. Such persons or group should be invited by appropriate authorities to substantiate their claims. JIBWIS Nigeria reassures all that it remains committed to peaceful coexistence and peace building efforts across the country and shall do everything possible to promote peace and harmony in Nigeria. As stakeholders in this regard, JIBWIS shall continue to pray for continuous peace, stability and progress of Nigeria.”