Boko Haram Kingpin Kabiru Sokoto Arrested At Borno Lodge Attempted To Kidnap Shettima’s Children – REPORT

New details have emerged concerning the arrest of Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto, at the Borno state governor’s lodge in Abuja in 2012.

Boko Haram Kingpin Kabiru Sokoto Arrested At Borno Lodge Attempted To Kidnap Shettima's Children - REPORT
Boko Haram Kingpin Kabiru Sokoto Arrested At Borno Lodge Attempted To Kidnap Shettima’s Children – REPORT

According to a report by TheCable, Sokoto was nabbed at the Borno state lodge in Asokoro, Abuja after he had plotted to abduct the children of the then governor of the state, Kassim Shettima.

The then Boko Haram leader was the mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing of St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger state, which killed at least 37 people and injured 57 others.

The newspaper cited a confidential security memo dated Thursday, June 14, 2012, which detailed how the terrorist infiltrated the lodge in a bid to abduct Shettima’s kids and demand a N1 billion ransom.

According to the memo, which was submitted to the presidency, Shettima — who had spent barely eight months as governor — had been warned that Boko Haram was plotting to kidnap his children for ransom.

Shettima, who is now the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), decided to relocate them — two girls and a boy — to Abuja and enrolled them at Turkish and British schools in Wuse II and Gwarimpa.

The memo, signed by a senior security official, alleged that Sokoto, whose identity was yet to be made public after the Madalla blast, disguised as a “Borno man” to gain access to the lodge — where Shettima’s children were staying.

He reportedly sneaked into the lodge on the weekend of January 14, 2012, when there was less traffic.

In what was described as a “major security breach”, he allegedly pleaded with a guest at the lodge to help him pass the weekend as he claimed to be stranded.

The guest, whose identity was not revealed in the memo, had been officially allocated accommodation at the lodge for one night on the directive of Ahmed Sanda, then-permanent secretary in charge of the governor’s lodge and the Borno liaison office, both in Asokoro.

The memo suggested that Sokoto was planning to kidnap the children on Monday, January 16, 2012, on their way to school.

He was arrested by the police after spending a night at the lodge.

Shettima had moved the children, all below 10 years old at the time, to Abuja in December 2011 — about two weeks before the foiled kidnap.

He had relocated them from Maiduguri on the advice of security officials and there were suggestions after Sokoto was arrested that some of them might have links with Boko Haram and were obviously passing information to the terror group.

Boko Haram was said to be planning to demand a ransom of N1 billion, which was valued at $6.3 million at the time.

The children were living at the governor’s lodge under the care of two aunties and an uncle, while Nana, their mother, frequently shuttled between Abuja and Maiduguri to run her office as the first lady.

The report faulted the fact that only one security detail was escorting the children daily which made them highly vulnerable to kidnapping.

Shettima later beefed up security at the lodge and moved his children to boarding schools.

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