The State Security Service on Wednesday in Abuja paraded an assistant lecturer in Arabic and Islamic studies at the Kogi State University, Ayingba, Muhammad Yunus, for recruiting and coordinating a Boko Haram terror cell in Kogi State.
The service said Yunus, who is the spiritual leader, runs a terror group which comprised Umar Musa, head of operations/ instructor; Mustapha Yusuf (aka Habib); armourer/chief courier, Ismaila Abdulazeez, a foot soldier; and Ibrahim Isah (a.k.a one in town), who is also a foot soldier.
SSS Deputy Director, Media and Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, while briefing newsmen, explained that the terror cell planned to launch attacks in Kogi State before they were apprehended.
She explained that until his arrest, Yunus had held several preaching sessions every last Saturday and Sunday of the month at Ethnosho Secondary School, Ojiolo, Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State where he had about 80 adherents.
Similarly, the suspect held another session every Friday at the Kogi State University mosque, Ayingba, where he had about 120 followers, whom he taught the virtues of Jihad and the sanctity of the Sharia law as an alternative form of governance and its entrenchment in the state and beyond.
Ogar said the lecturer, said to be a very active member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in KSU, maintained extensive links with Boko Haram cells in Borno State where he referred some of his followers to terrorist training.
“In March 2013, he facilitated the trip of two of his adherents to Boko Haram’s Sambisa Camp in Maiduguri, Bornu State where they received training in weapon handling. They are Mustapha Yusuf and Ismaila Abdulazeez who are now under arrest. They were able to escape and returned back to him in August 2013, following the military invasion of the camp,” she said.
The SSS spokesperson said Yunus holds a Masters degree from the University of Jos and a Ph.D in Arabic and Islamic Studies from KSU, in 2012.
Yunus denied being a Boko Haram member when questioned by journalists, but his claim was punctured by Yusuf, Abdulazeez and Isah who insisted that he had been teaching them about Jihad and how to exploit it to instal Sharia in Kogi State.
Yunus, who admitted knowing his accomplices, alleged that he was set up, adding that Islam which he preached, did not endorse blood-shedding.
“I don’t have any link with Boko Haram, in fact I preached against them, that is why they have set me up. You can go to Jos and ask for my tapes, I preached against them. Islam doesn’t support blood-shedding and I don’t support it too,” he said.
One of the suspects, Isah said he was in company with Umar and Abdulazeez on their way to Maiduguri, Bornu State for training when they were arrested at a mosque in Zuba, near Abuja.
Abdulazeez said he was indoctrinated by Yusuf in Nyanya, Abuja and he subsequently travelled to Ayingba to see Yunus who directed him to go with Isah to Maiduguri, but their trip was aborted by their arrest.
Meanwhile, arraignment of a suspected Boko Haram member, Abdulmanam Abidiki, could not hold on Wednesday due to the absence of his defence lawyer.