Kabiru Abubakar Dikko, (aka Kabiru Sokoto)
Details emerged last night on how the prime suspect in the Christmas Day bombing at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Suleja, Niger State, Kabir Abubakar Dikko alias Kabiru Sokoto, was re-arrested.
Over 45 people mostly Christian leaving the church and some passers-by died in the blast.
Sokoto was picked up again at Mutum-Biyu in Taraba State by a combined team of operatives from the State Security Service (SSS) headquarters in Abuja and the state Command following a tip-off.
The suspect was first arrested on January 14 at the Borno State Government Lodge in Abuja.
But he escaped at Abaji in the Federal Capital Territory while he was being taken to his residence for a search to be conducted.
Sokoto was re-arrested in the early hours of Friday at Mutum-Biyu in Gassol local government area of Taraba State. He was later paraded by the State Security Service (SSS) in Abuja.
THISDAY gathered from a reliable source that the head of the SSS office in Gassol was given information that a cleric in Mutum Biyu has been harbouring strange people recently.
Following the information, officers of SSS were said to have infiltrated the cleric’s place of worship where they prayed along with members of the sect, which led to the identification of Sokoto as one of those being haboured by the cleric.
The name and other details regarding the cleric are still being kept under wraps.
Following the discovery, a report was sent to the SSS headquarters and a team was quickly raised to combine with operatives from the state command to carry out the operation.
The team that effected the arrest, THISDAY learnt, arrived Mutum-Biyu on Thursday night, cordoned off most of the roads in the town and waited patiently till the morning of Friday before they swooped on the clergy’s house to carry out the arrest.
From there, Sokoto was brought to Jalingo before he was eventually whisked to Abuja.
Sources said Sokoto was hiding in clothes rack when he was eventually picked.
THISDAY gathered that the Aso Rock Presidential Villa was excited about Sokoto’s arrest.
He was flown to Abuja aboard an armed police jet. The security convoy that brought the suspect from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to the SSS headquarters in Maitama, Abuja was also extra-ordinary.
Sokoto was paraded at the SSS headquarters at a brief news conference in Abuja.
The police had declared him wanted and placed a N50 million price on his head while a Commissioner of Police, Zakari Biu, and five other junior policemen were arrested and were being tried over the development.
The incident led to the sacking of the former Inspector-General of Police Hafiz Ringim.
Parading Sokoto, SSS Deputy Director, Media and Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, explained that the suspect had taken refuge at Umaisha in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State before he fled to Taraba State.
Ogar said that Sokoto was born on May 9, 1983 to the family of Umaru Jabbi of Gagi village, Sokoto South Local Government Area, Sokoto State.
Upon the death of his father, he was adopted by his paternal uncle, Abubakar Dikko after whom he was renamed.
He completed his primary education at Model Primary School, Gagi town in 1996.
According to Ogar, the suspect enrolled for secondary education at the Ahmadu Bello Academy in 1996, but absconded shortly after and re-applied for admission as a fresh Junior Secondary School 1 student in Sultan Bello Secondary School, Sokoto South LGA, from where he graduated in 2003.
“In 2005, he gained admission into the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Sokoto where he exhibited high level of truancy and extremist tendencies, a situation which accounted for his poor academic performance. In mid-2007, he absconded again from the institution when he outright refused outright to re-sit some papers he failed in examination,” she said.
The SSS spokeswoman said Sokoto was instrumental to the visit of the late leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf, to Gagi Village in February 2009, when he was declared the leader of the sect in Sokoto State.
After his arrest, Sokoto was first moved to SSS office in Makurdi from where he was taken to Abuja.
His arrest prompted a heavy presence of security operatives in and around Makurdi town.
Stern looking police and SSS operatives barricaded the police headquaters roundabout, diverting all vehicular traffic leading to the SSS and police eadquaters in Makurdi for several hours.
Sokoto's detention in Makurdi also necessitated a mounting of barricades at the entrance of the SSS office in Makurdi to forestall any attack on the office.
A cross section of people that spoke to THISDAY over Sokoto’s arrest expressed shock that the alleged bomber was arrested in Taraba state which undoubtedly has been the most peaceful state in the entire North -eastern zone.
Meanwhile, speaking to THISDAY in a telephone interview, a member of Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Josiah Kente, said the divine hand of God is clearly at work in Nigeria and that the issue of Boko Haram would soon become history.
Meanwhile, SSS said contrary to THISDAY publication that they stormed NTA to collect a tape bearing a Boko Haram messages they were actually invited by NTA to take the tape that came from NTA Sokoto.
SSS Spokesperson Ogar made the clarification while pleading with the media for cooperation.