A suspected Boko Haram member on the list of wanted 100 terrorists whose photographs and names were recently released by the military was on Sunday arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (NAIA) by AVSEC, the security arm of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The suspect, Chindo Bello, was arrested while attempting to obtain his boarding pass for an Aero Contractor airline flight to Lagos. He is currently being interrogated by the military intelligence.
Sunday’s arrest is the second in recent times at the Abuja Airport, coming less than two months after a combined team of the military and FAAN officials nabbed a young man said to be monitoring movements at the airport for Boko Haram.
Confirming the arrest in a statement following THISDAY enquiries, the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, said: “The declaration of 100 suspected Boko Haram terrorists has started to pay the desired dividend as one of them was arrested as he attempted to flee.
“Today at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, a man suspected to be one of the declared wanted suspected Boko Haram terrorists, Chindo Bello, was apprehended by Aviation Security as he was boarding Aero Contractors’ Airline flight to Lagos. The suspect has since been handed over to the military intelligence for interrogation and prosecution.”
The army spokesman commended those he described as eagle-eyed, patriotic security agents and good citizens for the tip-off that led to the arrest of the suspect.
The Army spokesman also reiterated the need for all well-meaning Nigerians and those residing “in our great country to be more vigilant and assist security agencies with information about the declared wanted terrorists, their sponsors and other criminals in our midst”.
When contacted after THISDAY first got hint of the arrest, FAAN spokesperson, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, admitted that a Boko Haram suspect was arrested at the airport. In an SMS, she said: “I need to get clearance on this FAAN AVSEC arrest today. FAAN actually caught him but has been handed over to the military.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, another FAAN staff who narrated how the suspected Boko Haram member was caught, told THISDAY that at about 11am (Sunday), a grey-coloured Toyota Hiace bus, driven by a man in army uniform, drove into the airport to drop the suspect and immediately sped off.
“He (driver) never wasted a minute at the airport,” he said.
Continuing, he said the suspect immediately headed to Aero Contractors counter to procure his ticket. He added that because of the long queue, the suspect went outside for a walk where he saw the list of the 100 wanted Boko Haram suspects on the display board.
On sighting his name and picture on the display board, he stepped a few metres away to make
a call to some of his members on the development at the airport.
“See this useless people displaying our pictures here at the airport,” he said in Hausa language, a source told THISDAY.
While the conversation was ongoing, and unknown to the suspect, a FAAN security official kept trailing him. By the time he made his way to get his boarding pass, he was interrogated and arrested by officials of FAAN.
One of the passengers who volunteered to speak on condition of anonymity and who was on his way to Lagos, lamented the situation, adding: “Coming within a space of two months is one incident too many. Government should direct its attention to securing the lives of Nigerians who use the airports.” -Thisday