Friday, August 02, 2013

Extradition:Nigerian Terror Suspect [Lawal Babafemi] Gets Hearing Date

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of Federal High Court Abuja on Friday reserved 28 August for hearing in an application meant to extradite Lawal Babafemi to the U.S. on terrorism allegation.

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

At the resumed session, Mr Muslim Hassan, Counsel to the Federal Government (applicant) announced the intention to move the application he claimed was filed on July 22.

However, the move was immediately interjected as S.O. Yahaya, Counsel to the respondent prayed the court to be given some time to study the application.

Yahaya said “my lord, the application has just been served us in the court hall this morning, so we need some quality time within which to study it with a view to responding appropriately.”

However, it was later discovered that the application was served the respondent on July 25 in the State Security Service (SSS) custody but given to the counsel on August 2.

Giving his ruling on the oral application filed by the counsel to Babafemi for adjournment, Justice Mohammed said “in the interest of justice, August 28 is reserved for hearing the application’’.

The attempt to extradite the 32 year old Babafemi, also described as “Abdullah” and “Ayatollah Mustapher” to the U.S. is because he is being wanted there for his alleged involvement in terrorism related activities.

The Federal Government in an application exhibited a four-count charge marked:13CR-109-JG, filed against the accused person before the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York.

The application further shows that a bench warrant was issued for Babafemi’s arrest by a U.S. 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, was based in the U.S. but fled to Nigeria upon realising that he was to be arrested by men of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

He was arrested a year ago and is being held by the State Security Services (SSS) in Nigeria.

The application further reveals that U.S. authorities are of the view that Babafemi belongs to the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

The applicant said the accused person allegedly travelled to Yemen between January 2010 and August 2011 to train with the group.

They also alleged that Babafemi had been relating 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 dollars by the AQAP to return to Nigeria and recruit some English speaking individuals to work in AQAP’s English language media organisation.

The group had claimed responsibility for series of terrorist activities, including the Dec. 25, 2009 bombing attempt in the U.S. by Nigeria’s Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

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