Vanguard (Lagos)

14 June 2014

Nigeria: Extradition of Nyanya - Abuja Bomb Blast, Sudan Says 'No'

Photo: The Guardian
Aminu Ogwuche

The extradition of the mastermind of the April 14, 2014, bombings of Nyanya-Abuja Motor Park that claimed the lives of about 100 people, Aminu-Sadiq Ogwuche might take longer than expected.

For now, it has hit the rock.

This is because the Sudanese government was said to have refused to cooperate with the Nigerian officials in their effort to extradite the suspect.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that Sudan's refusal to extradite Ogwuche followed the alleged intervention of a powerful Nigerian in one of the traditional institutions in Nigeria. He was was said to have moved in to stop the extradition of Ogwuche using the instrumentality of his Alma Mata, African International University, in Sudan.

Apart from this, Sudan whose President, Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, ICC, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, has no bilateral agreement with any country in the world on extradition of criminals.

Reliable security sources in Abuja said that the Nigerian, who has used the Alma Mata on several occasions to recommend and secure admission for some willing Nigerians youths in Sudan, is believed to have used his influence to reach out to some old students of the university to frustrate the extradition of Ogwuche possibly to prevent Nigerian security from getting details from the suspect on some of the financiers of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria.

According to the sources, a team of Nigerian officials including security agents who travelled to Sudan with the aim of effecting the extradition or bringing back Ogwuche were turned back on the claims by the Sudanese officials that there was no court order for the arrest of the suspect.

It was learnt that when the officials of the Nigerian security agencies arrived Khartoum, Sudan last week for the hand-over of Ogwuche by the Sudanese authorities, they were faced with conditions that were unknown to them particularly against the backdrop of the fact that Sudan was not a signatory to any convention on the extradition of criminals and terrorists.

Saturday Vanguard further gathered that the Sudanese authorities pointedly told the Nigerian security officials that they needed the Court papers particularly the charge sheet detailing the offences for which Ogwuche was being tried and declared wanted.

Ogwuche's wife, who is based in Sudan is believed to be the interface between the Nigerian Emir and her husband's lawyer that are battling to get the suspected terrorist out of the hook in Sudan.

The failure of the officials to bring Ogwuche back to the country was said to have informed the arraignment of Ogwuche (in absentia) along with some of his accomplices for terror related offences in an Abuja court last Tuesday.

Ogwuche was declared wanted by the Department of State Services, DSS, after linking him to the deadly blast in Nyanya which claimed over 75 lives.

However, the arraignment of Ogwuche in absentia was again allegedly questioned by the Sudanese government which also doubted the genuineness of the allegations against the suspected terrorist, saying that he (Ogwuche) could have been framed.

The Police Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, had shortly after the Nyanya bomb blast hinted that Interpol had issued a red alert for the arrest of Ogwuche, who was once arrested on suspicion of terrorism but released following pressure from human rights groups and the father of the suspect. Also, the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, NOA and Coordinator of the National Information Centre, NIC, Mike Omeri, had said that Ogwuche, who had been on the wanted list of the security agencies was arrested in Sudan.

Omeri, who was surrounded then by spokespersons of the military, the police and the Department of State Services, DSS, said the security agencies in the country were working with their counterparts in Sudan to extradite the suspect, who was a deserter of the Nigerian Army, back to the country.

Deputy Director in charge of Public Relations at the DSS, Marylyn Ogar, had also hinted that the security agencies discovered that Ogwuche had escaped to Sudan, when his father could not produce him.

The discovery of the Ogwuche's escape to Sudan while five others were arrested prompted the DSS to declare him wanted alongside with one other suspect.

"Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche who was earlier declared wanted has been arrested in Sudan with the efforts of the Army, DSS, the National Bureau of the Interpol based at the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters and security operatives in Sudan.

"The efforts of the interpol, Nigerian Police and the DSS led to his arrest," Omeri said.

He promised that further information on him and the second suspect would be communicated to the public as they come in."

Ogwuche, an Army deserter was said to have dropped out of university in Britain. He served in a Nigerian intelligence unit.

The University of South Wales confirmed that he studied at the institution between 2007 and 2010, when it was known as the University of Glamorgan, but said he failed to complete his course.

WalesOnline, a Welsh news site, reported that Ogwuche was a member of the university's debating society and wrote on an online professional profile that his goal was "to be a successful businessman."

But it said the Business Science student had made increasingly radical postings on his Facebook page in 2010 and 2011, under a profile picture with the word "Asadullah", meaning "Lion of God."

The university told the site in a statement: "Aminu Ogwuche was a student at the former University of Glamorgan between 2007 and 2010 but didn't go on to complete his studies at the university."

It said the institution was "surprised" to hear of his alleged involvement with Boko Haram, saying: "There were no reported indications of extremist behaviour during his time as a student.

"There has been no contact between Mr Ogwuche and the university following his departure in 2010," the institution stated.

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