No surprise in security circles over ex-CJN’s son joining ISIS
SECURITY and intelligence circles in Abuja are not surprised about the news that one of the sons of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) (names withheld) has allegedly joined the Islamic terrorist group of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
For them, it has been long in coming as the group has targeted children of affluent Nigerians who they believed are not favourable disposed to the modus operandi of the Boko Haram Islamist group fighting in the Northeastern part of the country for the Islamisation of Nigeria.
The Nigerian military and its West African allies are fighting to defeat Boko Haram which is responsible for thousands of brutal killings and deadly bombings in Northern Nigeria and parts of Cameroon and Chad.
The first Nigerian from a privileged family to join a foreign terrorist organisation, the Al Queda, is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, popularly referred to as the “Underwear Bomber.” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is the youngest son of Katsina State born Alhaji Umaru Abdulmutallab, a very wealthy Nigerian banker and businessman.
Presently serving a life sentence without parole in the United States, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab confessed to and was convicted of attempting to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day, 2009.
Although security sources declined to speak in Abuja on the self-enlistment of the son of the former CJN who reportedly left Nigeria a few days back for Syria with his two wives and children to fight alongside ISIS, they noted: “It has been long in coming. We have been alerting Nigerians on this for some time and we are sure people didn’t take notice or chose to ignore it. But it is a reality we have to face.”
Indeed, warnings have been issued on the recruitment drive by ISIS on Nigerians. On December 22, 2014, Coordinator of the National Information Centre and Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri warned that ISIS agents operating under the guise of humanitarian support groups for refugees and orphans in Nigeria are scouting to recruit Nigerian youths as fighters for the terrorist group.
Omeri said then that intelligence reports show that ISIS was scouting for fighters around the Islamic world and from Africa, cautioning Nigerians against being lured into joining the terror group.
According to Omeri: “Nigerians are known the world over to be selfless, hospitable and humanitarian. We believe in the brotherhood of all mankind and no one should be allowed to take advantage of these virtues or turn them into vices. Nigerians are therefore advised to report to security agencies without hesitation, any group or non-governmental agency whose overt or covert activities are suspicious or have tendencies to jeopardise the innocence of our youths and the security of our people wherever they are in the world.”
Omeri followed this up last week Thursday when he expressed the alarm that ISIS agents were continuing their recruitment and radicalisation of the nation’s youth through social media and other sources, noting that the alert had become necessary to enable parents and guardians keep a watch on children and wards.
Targets of the ISIS recruiters, he said, “are mostly children of the rich and affluent who are schooling abroad. The Nigerian National Information Centre wishes to alert the nation of intelligence reports indicating the radicalisation of our youths through the social media and a variety of other sources. We therefore call on parents and guardians, especially those whose wards are schooling abroad, to closely monitor the activities of these students who may be susceptible to the antics of the promoters of the ISIS ideology.”
Described variously as ‘reserved’, ‘a committed Muslim’, according to reports he gave his parents and everyone around him, the impression is that he hates Boko Haram because of the damage they are doing to Islam. But as it has turned out, it was all a smokescreen as he has now gone to Syria apparently to join the Islamic State (IS) militants.
According to reports, his distraught father was still trying to come to terms with the news when he suffered a suspected armed robbery attack last weekend.
The 41-year-old has two wives and four children, the elder heading a private school in Abuja while the younger worked with a Federal Government agency.
When he took the decision to go to Syria to team up with the terrorists of the Islamic State, he reportedly called his wives aside and told them they were free to return to their parents.
“But both of them said they would go with him,” a source disclosed.
When the retired justice was alerted, he sought assistance from out the security agencies who reached out to the Turkish Embassy which confirmed that his son might have gone to Syria.
“The embassy confirmed it issued visas to the man and members of his family, details of his arrival in Turkey were made available, while images of CCTV recordings were also said to have been analysed by the Turkish security agencies to establish their movement.
“The man, who dropped out of the university and went into full-time business in his early 20s, is the most unlikely man to volunteer for the Islamic State,” according to a family friend.
“He hated everything Boko Haram stood for, and often queried why they would be killing innocent women and children in the name of Islam.
With the benefit of hindsight, he was probably trying to cover up his plans. There was no way you would have suspected that he was ever going to be a fundamentalist himself.”
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