Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Al-Qaeda - FG Moves to Extradite Nigerian Suspect to U.S.

The Federal Government has initiated extradition proceedings against a Nigerian, Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, suspected to be member of the terrorist organisation, Al-Qaeda.

32-year-old Babafemi, also known as "Abdullah" and "Ayatollah Mustapher," is wanted by the American government for his alleged involvement in terrorism related activities.

Consequently, the federal government, through the ministry of foreign affairs, has applied to a Federal High Court in Abuja for the extradition of the suspect to the United States.

The application for extradition filed by the government before the court, exhibited a four-count charge marked: 13CR-109-JG, against Babafemi before the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York and a bench warrant issued for his arrest by a US magistrate.

He is charged with "conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organisation, provision and attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, unlawful use of firearms and conspiracy to unlawfully use firearms."

The offences, on conviction, attract a minimum sentence of 10 years and maximum of life imprisonment.

Babafemi, who until now, was based in the US, fled to Nigeria upon realising that he was to be arrested by men of the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He had since been arrested and is being held by the Department of State Services (DSS). Documents filed by the government before the Abuja court revealed that the US authorities are of the view that Babafemi belongs to the "al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)" an affiliate of Al-Qaeda.

He allegedly travelled to Yemen between January 2010 and August 2011 to train with the group and relate with its senior members including the now deceased Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan. Babafemi was said to have admitted, upon interrogation that he was paid about $8,600 by the AQAP to return to Nigeria and recruit some English speaking individuals to work in AQAP's English language media organisation.

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