Abuja - The Department of State Security (DSS) on Tuesday gave public testimony with regard to the September 2013 Apo killing, through a 16-year-old suspect held in its custody.
The suspect, popularly called engineer, testified under oath at the uncompleted building in Apo when members of the National Human Rights Commission Panel of investigation visited the premises.
He attested to the fact that security agents raided the uncompleted building following a tip off.
The suspect added that the security agents only started shooting when fire was opened on them from the uncompleted building on the day of the raid.
“On the day of the raid, I arrived at the venue with security agents with the intention of arresting Suleiman and other members of the group but unknown to us, Suleiman had noticed our presence and he opened fire on the security agents.”
“Suleiman sleeps here sometimes with some of the members and they go out every Friday and Saturday with three of the members, one Ibrahim from Maiduguri, Sada from Katsina and one Abubakar,” he said.
According to him, Suleiman, who sometimes sleeps in the building with some members, buried weapons within the vicinity.
The suspect, who hails from Katsina State, however, added that the weapons could not be recovered when he led the team to the area.
He said that he led a team of security agents to the building after he was arrested at a mosque in Garki, Abuja, alongside one Kamal on September 18, 2013.
The suspect, who was an auto rickshaw (Keke NAPEP) rider, said he met Suleiman, a taxi driver, also known as R Kelly, who introduced him to the group in 2013.
He said the group, which was made up of 12 people, including him, often met at the building to discuss how to attack.
The suspect added that the group, which was often in possession of arms and ammunition, had planned to attack before they were raided on Sept. 20, 2013.
“Suleiman told me that the meeting was meant to protect Islam and I agreed to join.”
“At the meetings we discussed on how to defend our religion through war and at a point in time Suleiman showed me four AK 47s and a pistol.”
“Suleiman told me that he had someone in Maiduguri who would help in fighting the war against government but that the group in Abuja would start its operation before then.”
“He, however, warned that I should under no circumstances tell anybody about the meeting or else I would be in trouble. Because of this I was afraid and decided to keep quiet about it,” he said.
The suspect further testified that members had special Globacom numbers, with which they communicated, adding that he was warned not to call indiscriminately with the number.
“On the day I was arrested, I was traced to a mosque in Garki II where I was praying around 1 p.m. by security agents.”
“Suleiman gave me a sim card but warned that I should not give the number to anybody,” he said, adding that before he became a member of the group, Suleiman engaged him in transporting members of the group to the building.
He said that upon negotiation, he agreed to collect N5 000 per week, given the fact that he had to convey the people to the venue.
The suspect, who attested to the fact that he could identify the people, said he usually conveyed them to the venue around 8 p.m. three times a week for meeting, which often lasted till 11 p.m.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said investigation would be completed within one week and that a decision would be arrived at by February.
He gave assurance that there would be a public hearing to that effect to give Nigerians firsthand information on the outcome of the investigation.
“Today, we are at the site to confirm the premises and to take testimonies of the people involved in the operation.”
“We are hoping to round up this week and before the end of February the commission will take a decision and it will be made public.”
“We are not conducting anything in secret. The DSS made representation and brought one of their witnesses here, who has given evidence publicly,” he said.
NAN reports that members of the panel of investigation inspected security materials at the DSS headquarters.
It will reconvene on Wednesday, Jan. 8 to continue with its investigation.