Contrary to reports being peddled around, the mastermind of 2011 Christmas Day bombing, Kabiru Dikko, also known as Kabiru Sokoto, is still in custody, the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) said tuesday.
While responding to enquiries by an online medium, Premium Times, the spokesman of NPS, Mr. Biyi Jeje said: “Please disregard the rumour. He’s still in prisons custody.”
Kabiru Sokoto was convicted in December 2013 after being found guilty of plotting the bombing on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, near Abuja.
The attack left about 40 people dead.
Various publications and blogs this week reported that Sokoto, 32, may have been released as part of a purported prisoners swap deal between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram sect.
Boko Haram sect has demanded the release of its members held by the government in exchange for Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the group in 2014.
While the Nigerian government has indicated interest in a prisoners swap deal with Boko Haram, the modalities for this have yet to be made public.
“There’s no truth in all” the reports claiming that Dikko had been released, Jeje said.
A senior Boko Haram operative, Sokoto, was first arrested on January 1, 2012, by the police, but escaped from custody two days later when he was being taken to his residence at Abaji in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for a search.
He was re-arrested in Mutum-Biu in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State in February 2012 and subsequently charged under Section 4(1) (a) of Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2011.
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court found Dikko guilty of terrorism and handed him a life sentence on December 20, 2013.