by Isi Esene
In a pattern which bears close similarity to the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab case, two men, Olaniyi Lawal, and Luqman Babatunde have been accused by an Abuja Federal High Court of receiving money from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The two were accused of receiving “monies in Saudi riyals and US dollars equivalent to one million naira from a terrorist organisation known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” court papers said.
According to the prosecution, both men were planning on using the money “to recruit and transport prospective members of a local terrorist group to Yemen”.
They both pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge and the court was adjourned until October 2.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, European-educated son of a wealthy banker, was also discovered to have trained in Yemen under the eye of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric and one of the best-known al-Qaida figures.
On Christmas Day, 2009, he attempted to detonate a bomb on the Amsterdam-to-Detroit (Northwest Airlines Flight 253) flight with a bomb concealed in his underwear, but the device failed and badly burned him.
He was subsequently jailed for life with no option of parole after confessing to the crime.
Nigeria has been hit by a series of deadly attacks blamed on a faceless Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.