A 23-year-old man told journalists in Maiduguri yesterday that he had been trained in Afghanistan on how to manufacture bombs for the Boko Haram sect.
Malam Abdulrasheed Abubakar, who was paraded before the newsmen by the Borno State police command, said he was sponsored by the leader of the sect, late Malam Mohammed Yusuf, who promised to pay him N5.5 million on completion of the training. But on coming back to Nigeria, he said, he was arrested by the police at an undisclosed hideout in Yola, Adamawa State, and brought to Maiduguri, where the headquarters of the sect (Markas) was located.
The suspect, who said he had a diploma certificate in Bible Studies from Christ Disciples Bible College, Enugu, was born in Numan, Adamawa State.
Bachama by tribe, he said he was a Christian, using Jeremiah Samuel as his name, before being converted to Islam seven months ago by one Malam Umar in Yola.
On how he came in contact with Yusuf, Abubakar said it was through listening to a Ramadan preaching by the sect leader on audio cassettes some years ago. He said after introducing himself as Mohammed Yusuf, the leader also mentioned Markas, making it easy to locate him in Maiduguri.
At the sect headquarters, he said, "I was formally introduced to Mohammed Yusuf and we had a discussion with him for more than three hours before he disclosed to me he was going to sponsor me to Afghanistan to be trained in bomb manufacturing, which he said was to help Islam".
The suspect said he was driven personally from Maiduguri to Abuja by Yusuf in a green Toyota Sienna Le, with registration number Abuja CH 359 ABJ, where his visa was processed and was given five hundred dollars as his training fees.
While receiving training in Afghanistan, Abdullahi said, they where confined to one room and at one point they were blindfolded so as not to be conversant with the environment. He was fully trained in bomb manufacturing and later returned to Nigeria; he was arrested by the police in Yola on July 26, 2009, after trying to dodge his master, who refused to pay him the N5.5 million he had promised him earlier.
While parading the suspect, the new Borno State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdu, also showed to journalists a cache of ammunition said to have been recovered from the Boko Haram sect. These included four rocket launchers, about 30 assorted guns, equipment used in the manufacture of local guns, cutlasses, empty magazines and one green Toyota Sienna Le.
Abdu said that he would re-brand the Borno Police command towards greater efficiency and that the police were supposed to be courteous, dedicated, intelligent and accountable.
He added that the command under his leadership would adopt community policing and maintain collaborative efforts with other sister security agencies in the state.
Meanwhile, Sulaiman Alli, Abdul Saniyu Sadu, Sulaimon Alimi Adeniyi and Abdul Hakeem Abdulrahaman were arrested on Sunday evening while allegelly distributing the sect's pamphlets at the Lagos abattoir, Oko-Oba Road, Agege.
Newsmen gathered that the suspects, who had the symbolic Islamic long beard and dressed in the typical Islamic cleric manner, were busy creating awareness for the sect when on a tip-off, policemen from the Abattoir Police Station arrested them.
The suspects were later transferred to Area 'G' Police Command, Ogba, where they were detained.
It was further learnt that the suspects were yesterday transferred to the State Anti-Vice Section of the State Police Command, GRA, Ikeja, for further investigation.
A police source said that some of the pamphlets found on them were highly provocative.
The source also revealed that there were frantic efforts by two lawyers to secure their bail at Area 'G', but that they were not granted the bail as the case had already been transferred to the Anti-Vice Section of the State Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos.