By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), also known as the local vigilante, has arrested six suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorists in Lagos, said to be on the wanted lists of the military.
THISDAY gathered that the identity of the suspects matched with those on the list of 100 most wanted terrorists recently released by the military.
Confirming the arrests, the head of the vigilante group, Alhaji Mustapha Mohammed, who doubles as the Mai- Kanuribe of Lagos and the Seriki Hausawa of Ijora Kingdom, said five of the suspects were arrested on Friday by members of his group.
Mohammed identified the five suspects as Ibrahim Ali, Abubakar Ahmed, Goigoi Kamsalem, Ibrahim Mohammed and Banagana Blam Ali.
He also said the sixth suspect identified as Adamu was arrested recently in a church in FESTAC Town, where he was hiding inside an abandoned 40 feet container kept in the church compound.
While Ahmed, Kamsalem and Mohammed reportedly hails from Baga Local Government Area of Borno State, Ali hails from Bama Local Government and Blam-Ali hails from Kanduga Local Government Areas of Borno State.
Also, THISDAY gathered that the task force had arrested Ali and Blam-Ali, after a raid was carried out on their hideout at the Isheri area of Berger tollgate.
However, the trio of Ahmed, Kamsalem and Mohammed were arrested at Victoria Island area of Lagos where they had gone to stay with friends.
The head of the vigilante said they were tipped off by their unkempt looks and after they were arrested, have been transported back to Borno State where they are wanted by the military.
Mohammed, who also disclosed that Adamu is one of the top most wanted Boko Haram members on the wanted list of the military, said: “We got an intelligence report that Adamu was hiding inside an abandoned 40feet container in a church premises.
‘It was the security man attached to the church that hid him inside the container.
When we arrived at the church premises looking for him, we headed straight to where the container was kept.
“The security man attached to the church was not around then. The container was locked from the outside with a padlock.
“The pastor of the church was embarrassed to see us, but by the time we explained our mission to him, he along with others stood aside to see and by the time we break open the padlock, behold Adamu was hiding in the far corner of the container. As soon as the pastor sighted the suspect, he started singing praises.”
Mohammed, who hails from Borno State, pointed out that Lagos is home to many nationalities, adding that he has invested and contributed to the development of the state since 1970 when he arrived.
He said his group, with presence in 27 local government areas in the state had commenced operation in the state since 2011, adding that the sect would have succeeded in bombing some strategic installations and edifice in the state, safe for its efforts.
Vowing that he has resolved not to allow the sect cause havoc in the state, Mohammed hinted that several suspects arrested in the past by his group were either handed over to the Director of State Security Service (SSS), Shangisha, or Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 2, Commissioner of Police in the state.
He disclosed that some of the suspects who are on the wanted list were transferred to Maiduguri for further investigation and prosecution.
On how the suspects were recognised to be members of the sect, the traditional leader informed that their arrest is usually based on intelligence report gathered by operatives who are scattered across the state.
He said: “You know we are from Borno state where these people also hail from and we know their communities. Our people back home do monitor them, and once they leave Maiduguri, we would be alerted so that we can be on the look out.
“Once they arrive any community in Lagos, our members are always on ground to fish them out base on intelligence report and once they are arrested, we hand them over to security agencies for further investigation and prosecution.”
In recognition of his activities, Mohammed stated that a Peugeot patrol vehicle was donated to him by the state Director of SSS to aid his operation.
Stressing that he has been personally financing the activities of the group, the traditional leader appealed to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for logistic support to enhance the continuous activities of the group in protecting Lagos from Boko Haram insurgency.