By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North & Chris Ochayi
ABUJA — The Department of State Security, DSS, yesterday narrated how its operatives saved former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida and the deposed Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki, from being assassinated by Iranian-trained Nigerian terrorists.
Deputy Director, Public Relations of the DSS, Marilyn Ogar who paraded the Iranian-trained Nigerian terrorists yesterday in Abuja said: “General Babangida and Alhaji Dasuki were among prominent Nigerians targeted by the group for elimination because they were said to be showing support for Israel and the United States of America”.
The 50-year-old local leader of the Shiite Sect in Ilorin, Kwara State, Abdullahi Mustapha Berende, who was arrested last December before he could execute his deadly act, was paraded by the DSS in Abuja, yesterday. He was said to have been trained and funded by elements with strong connections in international terrorist activities.
Berende, the DSS said, was commissioned by his sponsors to identify Nigerians and institutions sympathetic to Israeli and American interests in Nigeria for possible attack, was paraded with two of his accomplices – Sulaiman Olayinka Saka and Saheed Aderemi Adewumi while the third suspect, Bunyamin Yusuf, is still at large.
Mastermind trained in the production of IEDs
According to Marilyn Ogar, “investigation shows that Berende gained admission in 2006 to study a six-month course in Modern Shia Islamic Teaching (Da’awa) at Imam Khomeni University Iran and was thereafter recruited by some Iranian elements when he returned for further studies in 2011 and trained in the use of AK-47 assault rifle, pistols, production of Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs.
“Upon his return to Nigeria, Berende was invited by his sponsors for further briefing in 2012 and asked to establish a terrorist cell in the South-West part of Nigeria with specific emphasis on Lagos.
“In a bid to set up the terrorist centre, Berende recruited Sulaiman Saka, Saheed Adewumi and Bunyamin Yusuf to assist him in accomplishing the tasks.
“Part of the deadly group’s brief included identifying and gathering intelligence on public places and prominent places frequented by Americans and Israelis to facilitate their attack by Iranian terrorists and providing specific details on US agencies such as USAID, Max, Zim International Shipping Company, A.A. Consulting, Peace Corps and the Jewish Cultural Centre in Lagos.
“The suspected terrorist was given $24,000 and E3,500 as well as coded names such as “Uncle” for Israel and “Aunt” for the United States of America by his Iranian handlers so as to facilitate their dastardly mission in Nigeria.
“Berende confessed that Lagos was chosen for attack because the Iranians believe that Israel has an intelligence facility in the area for spying on Iran and that he personally took pictures of the Israeli Cultural Centre in Ikoyi and forwarded them to his sponsors in Iran.
“The suspect added that in a bid to cover up his malevolent activity in Lagos, his handlers offered him financial support to establish a small business as a decoy”.
Berende regretted that they could not carry out their wicked act before they were apprehended and asked for forgiveness, adding that he would assist the security agencies to work for a safe, peaceful and united Nigeria.
Ogar, however, said the suspects will soon be arraigned in court, and charged with engaging in heinous crimes against Nigeria and the people.
“From the foregoing, there is conclusive evidence that Berende in collaboration with his Iranian handlers were involved in grievous crimes against the national security of this country. Accordingly, Berende and his accomplices will be charged to court soon,” Ogar said.