The Department of State Services said in Abuja, on Wednesday, that it had burst a ring of ISIS-linked Boko Haram members based in Benue State and the Federal Capital Territory.
It said during the operation, which was carried out on March 25 and 26, five key suspects were arrested.
The service gave their names of the suspects as Jibril Isa, Jibril Jibril, Omale Jibril, Halidu Sule and Amhodu Salifu.
Before the arrest of the suspects, it alleged that the group had perfected plans to attack the United Kingdom and the United States of America embassies and other Western interests in Abuja.
This information was contained in a statement on behalf of the DSS by its spokesman, Mr. Tony Opuiyo.
Meanwhile, the United States and the United Kingdom have commended the DSS for foiling a terror plot against the American embassy, the U.K. High Commission and other targets in Abuja.
The DSS said on March 22 at Fika, Yobe State, a 20-year-old Boko Haram member, Adamu Daitti, who was arrested, confessed his involvement in executing the sinister activities of the group.
Opuiyo added that on April 4, two suspected Ansaru kingpins, Ahmed Momoh and Al-amin Mohammed Jamin, were arrested at Igarra, Akoko Edo, Edo State.
He stated that the two suspects had been confirmed to be associates of Abu Uwais, who he said was a key Ansaru kingpin terrorising residents of Kogi and Edo states.
He explained that while these terror suspects were already undergoing detailed interrogation, the service had also stepped up its efforts at stamping out the menace of kidnapping.
In Rivers State for instance, he said one Daniel Diniamaka was arrested on March 24 at the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area for his alleged complicity in the kidnap of one Emmanuel Ukah on January 20.
On that same day, Opuiyo said one Godsgift Isioma was arrested in connection with his plan to kidnap one Dr. G. N Douglas.
Determined to decisively deal with the ugly menace of kidnapping and the increasing violence in Benue State, Opuiyo added that the DSS, on March 23, at Bangaji, Gboko, Benue State, arrested Daniel Lorve, who was described as a member of the Terwase Akwaaza (aka Gana)-led notorious kidnapping and terrorist group.
He added that “investigation in this regard prompted a joint military/Police/Service operation, which resulted in the raid on a farm suspected to have housed the armoury of Akwaaza, known for terrorising Katsina-Ala, Logo and Ukum LGAs of the state.”
He listed high-calibre arms and ammunition recovered from the scene as one General Purpose Machine Gun, three AK-47 rifles and one SMG rifle with large quantities of ammunition.
In Kogi State, he stated that the service, on March 29, 2017, arrested Abdulmojid Momoh and Ahmed Tijani Dodo at the Adavi LGA for their alleged involvement in kidnapping.
In a similar vein, he said Salau Ontinwa (aka General) and Abdulmajeed Musa were arrested on March 30 at the same Adavi for similar kidnap crimes.
Opuiyo added, “Preliminary investigation showed that the three suspects are key members of the dreaded gang terrorising innocent citizens and other travellers across the state.
“Prior to these operations in the state, a gun-runner, only identified as Kareem, was arrested on March 27 for supplying weapons to criminals, especially Abu Uwais, the Ansaru kingpin and notorious kidnapper.”
In furtherance of the service’s efforts to check possession of illegal arms, Opuiyo said the DSS arrested Chukwujioke Igburu at Ikwo, Ebonyi State, in a joint military/DSS operation on April 7.
The suspect, he said, was alleged to be one of the masterminds of the clashes between his Ojenakpa community and neighbouring Isobo community in the Obubra LGA of Cross River State.
He said the suspect was arrested while in possession of a G3 rifle.
In Abia State, Opuiyo stated that Freeborn Chisom from Ikeduru, Imo State, was arrested at Nzaocha Street, Aba, for allegedly engaging in subversive activities against public servants.
Chisom, who was described as an ICT expert, was alleged to have used the social media, especially blogs, to launch negative campaigns against the persons and offices of top government officials by telling lies against them and making them appear weak and incapable of holding their posts.
“He also used his platform to incite one ethnic group to violently attack another, thus creating tension and social disharmony,” Opuiyo said.
The statement added that the service had been able to uncover a racketeering network involved in the issuance of Certificates/Letters of Indigeneship to persons from neighbouring African countries.
Opuiyo alleged that the action was being used to boost the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the country.
He stated, “The Boko Haram terrorist group has become part of this network and uses it to buoy its membership in Nigeria.
“A particular case was the arrest on April 10 at Damaturu, Yobe State, of Jalo, a Jos resident Guinean and Boko Haram suspect.
“It is also discovered that these non-Nigerians use their new indigene status to seek privileges including admissions into the country’s tertiary institutions.”
In order to check this ugly development, state and local authorities were advised to be more circumspect in the issuance of these certificates/letters of indigeneship.
Opuiyo also said the service was aware of the efforts allegedly being made by some individuals to create what he described as a deep sense of insecurity in some parts of the country simply for their own selfish interest.
He explained that the case of former Governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, was an instance.
Suswan has been detained by the DSS since February 25 in Abuja in connection with alleged discovery of arms in a car on February 24.
The service had claimed that it made the discoveries after executing a search warrant, at the property of Dunes Investment and Global Properties Ltd, located at No 44 Aguiyi Ironsi Way, Maitama, Abuja.
Items said to have been found in the car included Glock pistol with two magazines and a total of 29 rounds of ammunition; Mini-Uzi with two magazines, containing 10 rounds and four rounds respectively; 42 extra rounds of ammunition contained in a pack; and one AK-47.
Opuiyo said in the statement on Wednesday, that the former governor was being detained because of his refusal to cooperate with the agency on the discovery of guns found in a car said to belong to him by the DSS.
He added, “The service has continued to hold him in line with the dictates of the law – more so that he has not cooperated on the issues concerning the recovery of large cache of arms at his facilities.
“While investigation is ongoing on this matter, the service has valid detention warrants to keep him. He will be charged accordingly once the investigations are concluded.”
US, UK commend DSS for foiling terror plot
The Press Attache, US Mission, Russell Brooks, told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that the embassy appreciated the work by the secret service and other Nigerian security forces in fighting terrorism and keeping citizens and residents safe.
Brooks, in his reaction, noted that America and Nigeria had a strong partnership in countering violent extremism.
He said, “The US Embassy appreciates the work of DSS and the Nigerian security forces in fighting terrorism and keeping citizens and residents safe. Nigeria and the US continue to have a strong partnership in countering violent extremism.”
Also, the UK High Commission spokesman, Joseph Abuku, in an email, expressed gratitude to the DSS for protecting the diplomatic staff and premises in Nigeria.
“We are grateful for the support we receive from the Nigerian security authorities in protecting UK diplomatic staff and premises in Nigeria.
“We are in regular contact with the Nigerian security authorities concerning potential threats to UK interests in Nigeria,” Abuku said.
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