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Monday, 10 June 2013

Kano arms cache: The Gusau connection

kano_arms•Threatens Nigerian Pilot with court action
Fresh investigations have revealed the connection between former National Security Adviser, NSA, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and penultimate week’s arm cache in Kano. This is coming even as the former NSA has threatened to sue Nigerian Pilot newspaper for publishing what he viewed as a false and damaging publication against his person.
Last Monday, Nigerian Pilot reported that in the on-going investigations, Gusau was being fingered as one link with the huge arms cache stocked in an underground bunker in Kano which was uncovered by members of the Joint Task Force days earlier.
Fresh investigations at the weekend have further shown that the former NSA may had connection with the Lebanese being probed for their Hezbollah and related roles in the arms cache saga.
According to one source in the presidency, “investigations are still on. People are being invited. Some are responding to invitations by investigators. But we are not there yet.”
Asked about the allegations of possible link between Gusau and the Kano arms cache, the security source wondered why Nigerians are finding difficulty in establishing the vital link.
“Why do people not understand that point? Let the former NSA explain to the world how the Lebanese acquired Wonderland Amusement Park here in Abuja. That will be one step towards clearing his name. Investigators need to hear him on this. Until he does that, nobody will believe him,” the source added.
Meanwhile, in a letter to Nigerian Pilot dated June 4, 2013, his lawyer, Ebenezer Obeya referred to our front page story in the newspaper’s June 3, 2013 edition titled: Kano Arms Cache: Ex-NSA Gusau fingered and threatened a N2billion law suit against the newspaper alongside other demands. (See letter).
The JTF penultimate Thursday explained how an underground bunker in which large cache of arms and ammunition, which was being operated by a foreign terrorist cell was uncovered in Bompai area of Kano. JTF’s spokesman, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha who made the disclosure to journalists in a statement issued in Kano same day, had further said that, “from the arrests made so far, security sources disclosed that Gusau’s link to the Hezbollah group is being investigated following tips by “those we have arrested.”
The sealing off of Abuja’s top superstore, Amigo Supermarket as well as Wonderland Amusement Park a day after the Kano discovery, was a direct consequence, various security officials disclosed weekend.
The JTF last Thursday explained how an underground bunker in which large cache of arms and ammunition, which was being operated by a foreign terrorist cell was busted in Kano two days earlier.
The spokesman, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, disclosed this to journalists in a statement issued in Kano same day.
From the arrests made so far, security sources disclosed that Gusau’s link to the Hezbollah group is being investigated following tips by “those we have arrested.”
“We respect the former NSA highly. He is one man that has served this country in diverse capacities very well. But from statements made by the people we have arrested, we need to investigate more to be sure that no mistakes are made.
“One link we can really use to reach the conclusion is this Fawaz man that is on the run. His children that usually patronise a popular night club in Garki spending huge sums of money have suddenly disappeared from public radar;” said one source.
He added that “much progress is being made to arrest the run-away Lebanese businessman.
According to Iweha, “on May 28, 2013 a combined team of the JTF involving the Nigerian Army of the 3 Brigade here in Kano and the Kano State DSS conducted a thorough search of this house located at No 3 Gaya Road off Bompai Road, Kano belonging to one Abdul Hassan Tahir Fadlalla, a Lebanese national who is currently out of the country.
“After painstaking search of the whole premises, the search team uncovered an underground bunker in the master bedroom where a large quantity of assorted weapons and calibre were recovered.
“The bunker was specially constructed for this purpose. It is worth mentioning to say that the weapons include weapons, rocket propelled guns, anti-tank/anti-personnel mines among other weapons.
“All the weapons and ammunition recovered were properly concealed with several layers of concrete and placed in coolers, drums and bags neatly wrapped.”
Maintaining that the discoveries were not accidental but the outcome of an ongoing robust counterterrorism investigation by the Department of the State Services Abuja in the past several months, Iweha stated that “the investigation also confirmed the existence of a Hezbollah foreign terrorist cell in Nigeria.
Consequently, the DSS on May 16, 2013 arrested one Mustapha Fawaz, the co-owner of the popular Amigo Supermarket as well as the Wonderland Amusement Park, all in Abuja.”
A number of arrests that started with an Abuja-based businessman on May 16 have been made with the military disclosing that the arrested suspects had confessed to have undergone Hezbollah training.
“The owner of this property is…a Lebanese national. Unfortunately, he is not even in Nigeria. There is somebody who is very prominent; he has property in Abuja….
“He was arrested by the SSS early this month,” he said.
“ There is also somebody…also a Lebanese national, who was arrested at the Malam Aminu Kano Airport, MAKIA on his way to (the Lebanese capital) Beirut.
“He was having the sum of $60,000 on him, which he did not declare. It was after he was arrested that the money was found on him during investigation,” they added.
Adding that Fawaz is now at large, Iweha said the arms and ammunition were targeted at facilities of Israel and Western interests in Nigeria.
“However, security agencies are making frantic efforts to unveil the true situation. At the end of investigation, all those involved will be prosecuted,” the JTF spokesman said in the statement.
Another security source who spoke to Nigerian Pilot on the matter, further added that the sealing of Abuja’s high profile superstore, Amigo Supermarket as well as top relaxation spot, Wonderland, also based in the federal capital city, was not just to track the co-owner who is said to be on the run, but to secure the places from any likely angst of the Nigerian public as well as for security reasons, “in case they have stocked either place with arms.”

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