A Nigerian Islamic scholar has told how an insurgent group based in Iran contracted him to spy on and assassinate prominent Nigerians including former military president General Ibrahim Babangida and former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki as well as American and Jewish citizens.
The State Security Service, SSS, yesterday paraded Mallam Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, a 50 year old Islamic cleric from Kwara State, who was tracked down by the service operatives while he and his lieutenants were gathering valuable information for the Iranian insurgents.
But for the keen alertness of operatives of SSS the suspect, a Shiite Islamic Sect scholar in Ilorin, Kwara State, would have carried his plot to assassinate former President Ibrahim Babangida and former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki in order to cause havoc in the Western part of the country.
The Shiite leader, along with three of his accomplices, were said to be collaborating with some unnamed Iranians, known to be operating a high profile international terrorist network, to carry out the killings.
The suspects were also said to have been plotting against and spying on American, Isreali and some other Western countries' interests in the country and had plotted to attack such facilities.
Berenda relocated from Ilorin to Lagos and with money running into several millions gotten from the Iranian insurgents planned to expand his tentacles to other South West states.
Briefing newsmen on the development, deputy director (Public Relations) of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, explained that for six months, the service was on the trail of the suspects so as to determine their probable course of action and to stop them from executing their plans.
Berende, who looked sombre and forlorn when he was brought in before newsmen, admitted having carried out the acts, but pleaded for forgiveness and leniency.
According to him, "I regret what happened. It is embarrassing to me and everyone around me. I still plead for forgiveness; the whole nation and my family should forgive me and I really regret my actions.
When people who are not known to you display friendship, one should be careful because you may not know the person's motives. There are people out there hunting for people to exploit and use to achieve their objectives.