On 15 February, the State Security Service (SSS) declared an ex-soldier, Habibu Bama, wanted.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said Bama is “wanted by the Federal Government in connection with crimes against the state”. The terse statement, which did not give further details, said that the wanted ex-soldier is a Kanuri, from Bama in Borno State.
The SSS said that Bama was known by other names such as ‘Habib Bama’, ‘Shuaibu Bama’, and ‘Habib Mamman’.
It implored members of the public with any information that could lead to his arrest to immediately contact the nearest police station, military formations or other security agencies.
On 16 January, Army authorities presented Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa to newsmen, alleging that he had been involved in gun running and in supporting a terrorist group in Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State. Also accused was one of his sons, Musa Nuhu Mohammed. Another son, Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, was declared wanted for allegedly shooting at security personnel and then fleeing with his weapon.
Alhaji Marafa is a former chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Association in Kaduna State.
Addressing a press conference, the Assistant Director of Public Relations, 1 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Lt Col Abubakar Edun, on behalf of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Maj Gen Joseph Shoboiki, said the principal suspect was arrested after a search was conducted on his compound.
Narrating the circumstances of the arrest, Col Edun said Marafa’s activities, bordering on issues of national security, had attracted the attention of the Nigerian Army. Those activities, he said, specifically had to do with gun running and suspected association and support of a terrorist group. After intensive surveillance, troops from the Kaduna-based 1 Division, on the night of 13/14 January, were sent to search his compound, located at Trikania area, opposite IBBI, in Kaduna.
The army spokesman said: “Before troops could gain entrance into the house, there was a gunshot fired at soldiers from the compound. It was later revealed that the shot was fired allegedly by Yusuf Nuhu Mohammed, the son of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa. Yusuf escaped with the weapon by scaling the fence of the compound”.
He further disclosed that when the troops finally gained entrance into compound, several weapons and other incriminating items were discovered.
The items found included, “nine number of 9 MM ammunition, five number of 6MM ammunition, 7.62 mm (special) ammunition, 11 number of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 17 barrel gun cartridges”.
“Others include one pump-action gun, two double-edged special axes, three machetes, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) bomb in a Mirinda bottle which, if ignited, can cause serious collateral damage to lives and property”.
“Also recovered were two metal bows, three long wooden clubs, one black army belt, one camouflage belt, two dog tags belonging to the Nigerian Army D2004/1/55/1899 S Adamu and US Army 84637857 Rambo RH and Nigerian Army camouflage trousers”.
“Other items recovered include two mobile phones, 10 pairs of vehicle number plates and three single vehicle number plates, one whistle, one passport of Alhaji Nuhu Mohammed Marafa and his son, Mohammed Yusuf Nuhu, GSM SIM packs, among others”.
It was on the basis of these discoveries that Alhaji Marafa and one of his sons, Musa, were arrested. The Army spokesman added that Marafa’s other son, Yusuf, who shot at the troops during the search operation, “is hereby declared wanted”.
The Army appealed to law-abiding citizens to assist law enforcement agencies with information that could facilitate arrest of the wanted man. They said investigations were still ongoing and that the suspects will eventually be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
However, Alhaji Marafa’s lawyers who also addressed the press after he was paraded by the military, said their client was a law-abiding citizen. Barrister Sani Katu, who spoke on behalf of the three-man legal team said: “The gun was legally acquired alonside the bullets. The plate numbers are also his property”. Other residents said a lot more explanation may be needed, regarding the other items that were recovered from Alhaji Marafa’s residence.