Abuja— Four weeks after the Nyanya bomb blast that claimed 74 lives and injured many others, the identities of the masterminds of the blast were made public by the Department of State Services, DSS, yesterday.
Parading the suspects at its headquarters in Abuja, DSS Deputy Director of Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, announced that the bombing was masterminded by one Rufai Abubakar Tsiga, described as a Boko Haram leader and assisted by one Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, an army deserter and son of a retired Nigerian Army officer.
Ogar, who was flanked by the Defence, military and police spokesmen during the briefing, said the two men, who were now at large, hatched and carried out the bombing of the busy transport terminal on April 14.
The DSS said it was Tisga and one Muhammadu Sani Ishaq, who moved the explosive-laden vehicle to Nyanya bus station on the night of April 13, while Tsiga personally drove the vehicle to the actual position in which he detonated the bomb the following morning.
Paradoxically, while Sani Ishaq, who took part in the bombing had been arrested, the duo of Tsiga and Ogwuche, described as the brain behind the bombing, have gone into hiding, forcing the security agency to declare him wanted.
Interestingly, Ogwuche, who hails from Orokam, Ogbadibo council of Benue State is a student of Arabic Language at the International University of Africa, Sudan, and the son of a retired army colonel, Agene.
The suspect, who was enlisted into the Nigerian Army as Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche with service number SVC 95/104, deserted the Nigerian Army in 2006.
Before he absconded from the army, Ogwuche served in the Intelligence Unit at Child Avenue, Arakan Barracks, Lagos, between 2001 and 2006, shortly after being posted to the Nigerian Defence Academy.
He was arrested by security operatives on suspected terrorist activity at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on November 12, 2011, shortly after arriving from the United Kingdom.
However, following intensive pressure from human rights groups, who alleged that his fundamental rights were being violated, Ogwuche was released to his father, Col Agene Ogwuche (rtd.).
The DSS had placed a bounty of N25 million on their heads. In all, five suspects, who had earlier been taken into DSS custody following the bomb blast, were paraded before journalists in Abuja yesterday.
The suspects are Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, alias Abu Ibrahim/Maiturare, Muhammadu Sani Ishaq, Yau Saidu alias Kotar Rama, Anas Isah and Adamu Yusuf.
Eight days after the blast, a joint security team arrested Abubakar at Gwantu, Sanga Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Abubakar, 43, from Yarimawa in Kazaure council of Jigawa State, confessed to security agents that shortly after the blast in Nyanya, Tsiga confirmed to him that he and other Boko Haram members had bombed Nyanya in retaliation for the killing of sect member eight days earlier.
It was, however, discovered that the alleged killing of a Boko Haram member had never taken place but was merely bandied about to elicit the sympathy of the sect members.
Abubakar confirmed that Tsiga sent him recharge card and that the phone of one Muhammadu Sani Ishaq was used in sending him the credit.
According to Abubakar (a.k.a Maiturare), Tsiga also told him that Boko Haram national leader had directed that all members of the sect should relocate with their families to ‘Gaaba’(Boko Haram forest camp) in preparation for mass attacks against the country.
Ishaq, Nyanya blast plan
He was arrested on April 24 at Utako Village behind Julius Berger Yard, Utako, following the disclosure made by Abubakar. He is a 30 year old indigene of Balari village, Ajingi council of Kano State.
Ishaq was a sales boy in Tsiga’s patent medicine store at Utako called Kishi Clinic, a structure which also served as a base for Boko Haram’s covert activities in Abuja.
He revealed that two days before the Nyanya blast, Tsiga (alias Dr. Rufai Tsiga), his boss, informed him around 4p.m. after prayers that there was a plan to bomb a facility in Abuja, but stated that he was not informed of the exact place.
He further revealed that Tsiga later informed him that the bombs to be used for the blast were being coupled at the residence of one Adamu Yusuf.
According to Ishaq, a day before the Nyanya bombing, he and Tsiga drove the car laden with explosives and parked it behind four buses inside the Nyanya park overnight, after which they left the area, which Tsiga detonated the following day.
According to him, two cars were wired for the attack. He claimed one was used for the April 14 incident, which was a retaliatory attack as a member of the sect was lynched a week earlier at the Nyanya park because he was caught with firearms.
However, the story appear untrue, but fabricated by Tsiga to elicit the interest of Ishaq and other sect members used for the attack.
Saidu alias Kotar Rama
Saidu, 28, was arrested on April 29 at his village, Dandambo, Tsanyawa council of Kano State.
Before his arrest, Saidu was an apprentice under Tsiga at his medicine store in Utako
Although he denied membership of the sect, he claimed that his uncle, Tsiga and Ishaq attempted to enlist him several times. He identified the perpetrators of the Nyanya bomb blast as Tsiga, Ishaq and Ogwuche.
He also disclosed that on April 13 at 11a.m., a day before the Nyanya bombing, Tsiga and Ishaq drove out from Utako village market in a “black coloured Honda Accord” car and returned about four hours later.
Later the same day, they went out again in the same car and did not return until the following day, April 14 at 11a.m., after the Nyanya bombing incident had occurred.
He alleged that when Tsiga learnt of Ishaq’s arrest, he fled Utako to an unknown location and left the Kishi Clinic business in his care.
Tsiga equally sent a message to his wife, Hauwa’u on his mobile (number 07067434122) directing her to pack her belongings and flee the area.
Yusuf alias Mallam Adamu
Adamu Yusuf, 43, was arrested in Bauchi on May 5. He has confessed that he is a member of the sect. Adamu was a cleric at Finance Quarters Mosque, Wuye, Abuja.
Ishaq disclosed that Tsiga told him that the bombs used for the Nyanya incident were coupled in a bush near Yusuf’s residence.
Yusuf, however, claims that even though he knows Tsiga, the mastermind of the Nyanya bombing, he did not take part in the bombing. He mentioned the members of the sect known to him to be Tsiga, Abubakar, Ogwuche and Isah.
He claimed to be an apprentice under Tsiga along with Isah. He claimed that on the day of the Nyanya bomb blast, Tsiga called and told him that he heard of the bomb blast and that it was a job well done.
Anas Isah, 22, was arrested on May 3 at Unguwar Yan Tagwaye village, Faskari council, Katsina State. He is an indigene of Tsiga, Bakori council, Katsina State.
Isah came to Abuja in 2011 and hawked yoghurt for about one month before going back to Tsiga. He returned to Abuja again in 2012 and worked as a sales boy in a pharmacy located at Ruga near Wuye Market.
In 2013, Tsiga invited Isah to join his “clinic” at Utako village, where he worked for about five months.
Although Isah denied being involved in the April 14 incident, he identified Ishaq and Tsiga as members of the sect, especially as the latter had confided in him his membership of the Boko Haram sect.