New York – A Nigerian, Lawal Babafemi, was on Friday arraigned in a U.S. Federal Court, Brooklyn, on charges of providing material support to al Qaeda and criminal use of firearms.
Babafemi, 33, also known as “Ayatollah Mustapha’’, was arraigned on a four-count charge of indictment, conspiracy, providing material support to AQAP, and use of firearms.
He allegedly provided the support to the group in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist organisation’s Yemen-based affiliate.
A local media stated that between January 2010 and August 2011, Babafemi travelled twice from Nigeria to Yemen to train with leaders of al Qaeda, known as AQAP.
According to the media, a statement by U.S. prosecutors said that he helped AQAP’s media operations, including the publication of its magazine, called “Inspire’’.
It said that the group’s leadership, including Anwar al-Awlaki, paid Babafemi almost $9,000 to recruit English-speaking people from Nigeria,
According to prosecutors, Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Babafemi faces life in prison if convicted on firearms charges and up to 15 years in prison on the material support charges.
The media also quoted a U.S. District Judge, John Gleeson, as having ordered that Babafemi to be held without bail.
It noted that in August, a Nigerian Court granted a U.S. request for Babafemi’s extradition.
In another statement, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch, said Babafemi supported al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media, recruitment, and weapons training campaigns.
Lynch said the support was part of effort to strengthen the terrorist group’s grip on the region and extend its reach throughout the world.
“We will use every tool at our disposal to combat al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in a manner consistent with our laws,” Lynch said. (NAN)